The Department of Health is launching an ambitious plan to slash five billion calories off the nation’s daily diet by opting for smarter food choices and committing to maintaining a healthy BMI in a bid to cut Britain's spiralling obesity rates.
But critics say this health 'Call to Action' is vague and incompatible for food industry commercial interests. The Children's Food Campaign says that the Coalition is actually cutting funding for the Change4Life project from £25million to £14million per year, making their announcement vague and 'woolly'.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that he wanted to challenge businesses to help play a greater role - alongside Government and NGOs – to support healthy eating campaigns.
More than a quarter of adults in the UK are obese, and the condition is major risk factor for heart disease.
Charlie Powell, Campaigns Director of the Children's Food Campaign said: "We are witnessing breathtaking procrastination from a complacent government more intent on cosying up to industry than providing a robust regulatory response to reverse the record levels of obesity which place the UK as the fattest nation in Europe.
"If the Government does not replace the failed voluntary approach, childhood obesity will sadly continue to rise."
Charities say that while obesity undoubtedly needs to be tackled in the UK, much more than just advising people to cut calories can be done.
Dr Mike Knapton, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “There are other things to consider too, like reducing saturated fat.
“If industry wants to be part of the solution then they should make sure we all have the information we need to make healthy choices, so colour-coded front-of-pack labelling must show calories but also saturated fat, salt and sugar.”