The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) and British Dietetic Association (BDA) today welcome sugar reduction guidelines published by Public Health England. These ambitious guidelines have been set, in discussion with food companies, for a range of food categories which currently contribute the most sugar to children’s diets. The government is aiming for a 20% reduction in total sugar sold in each of the food categories as a part of efforts to tackle childhood obesity. Food manufacturers will be expected to meet the goals by 2020, through a combination of food reformulation, reducing portion sizes and by shifting sales towards lower sugar alternatives.

“The new government recommendation to reduce our intake of free sugars to less than 5% of food energy is very challenging and action across all sectors, including out of home food outlets, is going to be key to any success” said BNF Director General Professor Judy Buttriss. “Some companies have already made significant changes to the sugar and calorie content of their products and there have been some encouraging announcements of plans by industry to step up to the challenge, but there is more to be done.

“Organisations such as the BDA and BNF, which provide evidence-based information to help the public choose a healthier diet, have an important role to play to explain to the public the changes that are being made to products and how to put recommendations on sugars reduction into practice” said Prof Buttriss. “This includes promoting the idea that smaller portions are a positive step to reduce our energy intakes and contribute to the fight against the obesity problem we face in Britain”.

While the voluntary sugar reformulation work and sugar levy that the government has introduced are welcome, both organisations feel much more needs to be done to tackle childhood and adult obesity. For example to ensure that the broader principles of a healthy diet depicted in the Eatwell Guide, not just the need to reduce free sugar intake, are better understood and acted upon by the public, not forgetting that an active lifestyle is really important too. 

 “The BDA believes that the government now needs to commit to further action in areas such as advertising and promotions” said BDA Deputy Chief Executive Sue Kellie RD. “Reducing the sugar in foods is certainly one way to tackle obesity, but behaviours need to change as well. The BDA would suggest that, whilst there are new tougher advertising guidelines on non-broadcasting media, this does not go far enough. The government needs to further restrict the advertising of High Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS) foods before the 9pm watershed and ban promotions on those same products.

“Providing education around healthy eating as standard is also important” continued Ms Kellie. “Dietitians have the tools and skills to drive behaviour change and help children and families to prepare and maintain a healthy diet. Many are already working in successful programmes across the UK, which could be expanded with further support. If we are to successfully tackle obesity and reduce its long term costs to the NHS and wider economy, we need to change attitudes and habits over the long term – there’s no quick fix.”

 

 

Notes to editor

The British Dietetic Association

  • Read the BDA’s Position Statement on the Childhood Obesity Plan here: https://www.bda.uk.com/improvinghealth/healthprofessionals/childhood_obesity_policy_statement
  • The BDA, founded in 1936, is the professional association for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 8,500 members. The BDA is also an active trade union.
  • Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
  • Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, non-government organisations and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.
  • Visit the BDA website at www.bda.uk.com
  • Follow the BDA on Twitter @BrDieteticAssoc

For further information contact the BDA Press Office on 0800 048 1714 or at pr@bda.uk.com

 

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF)

Making nutrition science accessible to all.

 

BNF was established 50 years ago and exists to deliver authoritative, evidence-based information on food and nutrition in the context of health and lifestyle.

The Foundation’s work is conducted and communicated through a unique blend of nutrition science, education and media activities. BNF’s strong governance is broad-based but weighted towards the academic community. 

BNF is a registered charity that attracts funding from a variety of sources, including contracts with the European Commission, national government departments and agencies; food producers and manufacturers, retailers and food service companies; grant providing bodies, trusts and other charities.

Further details about our work, governance and funding can be found on our website (www.nutrition.org.uk) and in our Annual Reports.

 

For further information please contact Bridget Benelam b.benelam@nutrition.org.uk, 020 7557 7930 (office hours) or 07966 032293

Visit the BNF Websites: www.nutrition.org.uk / www.foodafactoflife.org.uk

Follow BNF on Twitter: @BNFEvents