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Teesside University expert supports new national food strategy to tackle obesity

15 July 2021


A Teesside University Public Health Nutritionist has given her support to the Salt and Sugar Reformulation Tax which could be added to food sold in England as part of a new National Food Strategy to tackle obesity.

Professor Amelia Lake
Professor Amelia Lake

The National Food Strategy has today called on the government to commit to a significant package of reforms to build a better food system for a healthier nation.

In a landmark report, food entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby outlines how poor diets contribute to around 64,000 deaths every year in England alone and cost the economy an estimated £74 billion.

The report calls for the introduction of a Sugar and Salt Reformulation Tax, as well as an expansion of free school meals, support for the diets of those living in deprived areas, an overhaul of food education in schools and for food standards to be protected in any new trade deals.

Professor Amelia Lake, from Teesside University’s School of Health & Life Sciences and Associate Director of Fuse, the Centre for Translational Research in Public Health, supports the call for reforms.

She said: ‘The National Food Strategy Part 2 is welcome and very timely as we, as a population, have understood just how fragile our current ‘just-in-time’ food system is. The last 16 months has shown consumers that they cannot take the food system for granted.

‘What we need to see from this strategy is joined-up policy action, not simply cherry picking of the ‘easier’, more palatable options.

‘Some of the points suggested in the strategy may make for some uncomfortable conversations.

‘We need to acknowledge that food and sustainability need to be seen in parallel and that great inequality exists around access to healthy affordable food. Food and health are inextricably linked; food production and processing methods affects the health of us humans and our planet too.

‘Tackling issues around food requires whole systems approaches and requires our government, food producers, the wide food industry, food retailers and us as consumers to have a role.

‘Voluntary measures alone, for example the reduction of sugar in food has proved to be much less effective than for example our sugar levy. This strategy with its systems-wide approach has the potential to revolutionise our food system and the health of our population. Let us see our nation’s food and health brought up high on the government’s agenda.’

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