Britain needs to go on a diet, says top health official

From BBC - March 5, 2018

The portion sizes of some of Britain's most popular foods are to be cut, with health officials telling the public it is time "to get on a diet".

Public Health England is targeting pizzas, ready meals, processed meat and takeaways, in a new obesity drive.

The government agency has also urged the food industry to start using healthier ingredients and encourage the public to opt for lower calorie foods.

It is all part of a drive to cut calorie consumption by 20% by 2024.

The target will apply to 13 different food groups, responsible for a fifth of the calorie intake of children.

It comes on top of:

Combined, these three measures mean health officials are taking direct action to influence the consumption of foods responsible for half of children's calories.

But PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie said the steps were as much about influencing the diets of adults.

"Britain needs to go on a diet. Children and adults routinely eat too many calories, and it's why so many are overweight or obese."

The popular foods being targeted

Food manufacturers, supermarkets, takeaways and fast-food outlets have been told to reduce the calories in the following foods:

If action is not taken, PHE said, it would be prepared to ask the government to legislate.

It would be strictly monitoring progress by looking at which products people were buying and would be prepared to "name and shame" individual companies not pulling their weight.

Targets for breakfast, lunch and dinner

The agency is also launching a campaign encouraging adults to consume 400 calories at breakfast and 600 each at lunch and dinner.

It is being seen as a rough guide for consumers to follow when they buy meals away from home.

A quarter of food is now bought from cafes, restaurants, takeaways or as food-to-go from shops.

How many calories should we eat?


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