People in Wales urged to have their say on government plans to tackle obesity
People in Wales are being urged to have their say on the Welsh Government’s plans to combat obesity before the nationwide consultation on proposals comes to an end next month.
Limiting hot food takeaways near schools and ending the sale of energy drinks to anyone under the age of 16, are some of the proposals aimed to improve the health of young people and stop rising rates of obesity.
The Welsh Government launched its Healthy Food Environment and Energy Drink consultations in June, and people have until September 1 to have their say on the plans.
Dietician, TV presenter, and former Great British Bake Off contestant Beca Lyne-Pirkis is an ambassador for the Healthy Weight:Healthy Wales strategy, the long-term plan to prevent and reduce obesity, and has urged people to contribute before the consultation ends.
“Like so many people in Wales, I love my food. And finding that balance between eating the things I love and keeping a balanced diet can sometimes be a challenge,” she said.
“Being targeted and bombarded with promotions and advertising for food and drink high in things like fat, sugar and salt makes it even more difficult to limit unhealthy diets, especially when raising a family when time and financial pressure can affect our decisions.
“That’s why it’s so important to address the balance between healthy and unhealthy food inside and outside our homes and getting involved with the consultations will allow us to make sure we go about that the right way.”
In Wales, approximately 1.6 million adults are overweight and 655,000 people are obese.
In addition, more than one in four of children in Wales are overweight or obese when they start primary school.
It is estimated obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion per year across the UK.
“This is about removing the barriers that prevent or put people off from making healthier food and drink choices,” Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said.
“Often, foods that are sugary or high in fat or salt are more readily available and promoted – this must change if we are to reduce obesity in our country. This is an open and frank conversation about how we can create a step change in our choices and behaviors.”
The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey also shows people are consuming too much sugar, saturated fat and salt and too many calories, but not enough fibre, fruit and vegetables.
The survey shows that young people aged between 11 -18 years consume up to three times the recommended maximum amount of sugar.
The Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales strategy includes proposals on banning the sale of energy drinks to young people under 16 to reduce the amount of sugar they consume.
Some energy drinks have 21 teaspoons of sugar and the same caffeine as three cups of coffee.
Research shows that children who drink at least one energy drink per week are more likely to report symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems and stomach problems as well as low mood and irritability, while regular energy drink consumption has also been linked with low educational engagement.
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