Calorie labels to be put on alcohol and restaurant meals as PM launches plan to tackle UK’s obesity crisis


LABELS detailing the number of calories are to be put on alcohol and restaurant meals.

It is part of Boris Johnson’s plan to tackle the UK’s obesity crisis, with doctors saying “firm commitment” is needed to see real change. 

Restaurants, cafes and takeaways will be forced to publish the calorie content of any food they serve – whether eat in in or taken away. 

And shops will have to do the same with bottles and cans of beer, wine and spirits, the Mail reports.

Public health bodies have welcomed the curbs on “relentless advertising and promotion of unhealthy food” – due to be announced next week. 

Junk food adverts are expected to be banned on television before the 9pm watershed and online entirely.

And “buy-one-get-one-free” deals on snacks will be curbed in an attempt to reduce the nation’s waistlines.

A fitness drive to encourage walking and cycling is also expected. 

Plans for calorie labels were shelved two years ago following opposition from businesses and the Treasury. 

But the idea has been revived and forms part of the Government’s anti-obesity campaign which launches next week.

And it comes after the PM has been watching his own weight since he was admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 in April.

Speaking on Friday, Mr Johnson said he had lost more than a stone since his health scare, and reiterated that being obese is a risk factor when it comes to coronavirus.

On a visit to a GP surgery in London on Friday, the Prime Minister said he would “encourage” people to lose weight this summer.

He added: “I’m not normally a believer in nannying, or bossing type of politics. But the reality is that obesity is one of the real comorbidity factors.

“Losing weight is, frankly, one of the ways that you can reduce your own risks from Covid.”

Later, in an interview with the BBC, Mr Johnson said: “One of the lessons I drew from that is the need for us all to be fitter and healthier.

“And if we’re fitter and healthier by the way, we will also be happier.”

The Obesity Health Alliance has welcomed the reported measures on the “relentless” promotion of unhealthy food.

Caroline Cerny, lead at the organisation said: “There is overwhelming evidence that junk food advertising works.

“So when adverts for unhealthy food and drinks dominate prime-time TV and social media, while the nation struggles to maintain a healthy weight, this is a problem.”

She believes the “incentive to the food industry to reduce sugar, fat and salt from their products” would “benefit everyone”.

Doctors have also welcomed the proposals, but say that promises have been made before and a “firm and sustained commitment from Government to address obesity and poor diet” is needed.

The British Medical Association’s Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said “successive governments have shied away from effective regulation for far too long”.

She added: “We must have a comprehensive and well-resourced strategy to ensure that from now on the health of the nation is made a priority.”

The Prime Minister has also faced a backlash from those in the food and advertising industries who are concerned about the potential impact on jobs.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) called the proposals a “slap in the face” to an industry already struggling with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation’s boss, Tim Rycroft, questioned the plans, given that the Government is trying to encourage people back in to pubs and restaurants to stimulate the economy.

He said: “We could see a ban on promotions of food such as mustard and mint sauce, days before the launch of the Chancellor’s Eat Out to Help Out campaign.

“We could have the Great British Bake Off with no cake adverts allowed.”


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