Limiting hot food takeaways near schools and banning sale of energy drinks under 16s, last chance to have your say
People in Flintshire are being urged to help shape the Wales’ ambition to reduce and prevent obesity ahead of the deadline for a nationwide consultation.
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 the public have until September 1 to have their say on its proposals.
Ministers also want people’s views on restricting the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar or salt, ending free refills on sugary drinks and expanding the publication of calories on menus.
In Wales, approximately 1.5 million adults are overweight and with 600,000 of those people being 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.
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 strategy to prevent and reduce obesity, and called on people to beat the deadline to share their views on Wales’ healthy eating future.
Beca said: “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.
“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.”
However elements of the consultation have been questioned by politicians, with Wrexham.com reporting in June over confusion about whether the proposals include an outright ban on the sale of tea and coffee to under-16s.
At the time the Liberal Democrats branded labelled the apparent plan “outrageously illiberal”.
The consultation itself does not propose a ban on the sale of hot drinks to youngsters. Instead a question asks whether the ban should be “widened to consider other drinks typically high in caffeine such as tea and coffee?”.
Commenting on the end of the consultation, Shadow Mental Health Minister James Evans MS has urged people to taken part in the consultation and to oppose the widening of the ban.
James Evans MS said: “Any attempts to ban tea and coffee are simply ludicrous and should never be under consideration.
“Not only is tea a staple of our British identity and the coffee market an important part of our high street economy but, it beggars belief that this could be considered beneficial to the public.
“Yet this is the Labour Government that puts a tourism tax and creating more politicians ahead of fixing the NHS backlog and growing the lowest wages in Britain.
“I urge people to answer this consultation and make Labour stop this ban before it delegitimises sensible aspects of the plan.”
Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said: “The closing date for the consultations are fast approaching, and so I’d urge people to have their say and take part.
“It only takes a couple of minutes to complete – but the benefits of introducing positive changes will be felt in Wales for generations to come.
“This is about removing the barriers that prevent or put people off from making healthier food and drink choices. 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 behaviours.”
You can take part in the consultation on energy drinks until September 1 here. The consultation on ‘Healthy Food Environment’ can be completed here.
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