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Action on Sugar


30th November 2015

  • Today, Action on Sugar publishes an evidenced-based 6 point plan for immediate action by Cameron
  • Establishing an independent, but government-funded, agency is critical for industry regulation
  • The escalating costs of obesity (£5.1 billion) and diabetes (£10 billion) are likely to bankrupt the NHS

evidenced-based actions [PDF 240KB] for the full Obesity Plan

Click here for full media coverage

Ahead of the Cameron’s much-anticipated Childhood Obesity Plan scheduled for early 2016, Action on Sugar is today urging the prime minister to adopt its six point evidence-based action plan to prevent the UK’s obesity and type 2 diabetes crisis from spiralling out of control. The annual cost to the NHS of obesity alone is a staggering £5.1 billion [1] and Diabetes UK estimates that the NHS is already spending about £10 billion a year on diabetes [2] – costs that are not sustainable for the NHS.

Furthermore, Action on Sugar is warning the government of the devastating effect it would have should the food industry set up an independent agency to implement, monitor and regulate the industry – comparing it to the scandalous running of the self-regulating tobacco industry. The Department of Health, with the Responsibility Deal, has failed both in its salt and calorie reduction policies, because it allowed the food and drink industry to govern itself.

The publication of Action on Sugar’s Obesity Plan, which has since been updated following the recent scientific review by Public Health England (PHE) on how best to reduce sugar, coincides with the launch of Jamie Oliver’s Obesity Plan, soon to be published, which Action on Sugar fully endorses.

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chair of Action on Sugar says: “David Cameron now has a unique opportunity to produce a coherent, structured evidence-based plan to prevent obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. These conditions are preventable if the food environment is changed. Current policies are ineffective and we now require policies that work.”

Jenny Rosborough, Campaign Manager and Nutritionist of Action on Sugar says: “Given that the food and drink we consume is the biggest cause of premature death and disability in the UK, Cameron must show us that he is making the battle against obesity an absolute priority. It is too hard to make healthy choices in the obesogenic environment that we live in. Government regulation is essential. There is nothing more important than our health. ”

Kawther Hashem, Nutritionist and Researcher at Action on Sugar, "Parents and children are currently drowning in a world full of aggressively marketed and promoted sugary foods and drinks.  It is high time the government took responsibility for the health of the nation and set sugar reduction targets and stricter rules on all forms marketing and promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks. By helping people meet the new sugar recommendations (30g/7 tsp for adults and 19g/5 tsp for children) within 10 years we would not only improve individual’s quality of life but could save the NHS, based on a conservative assessment, around £500m every year.”

On Monday 30 November, The Health Select Committee is launching the report of their inquiry into childhood obesity followed by The Petitions Committee debating sugar tax in parliament, along with Jamie Oliver.

Sugar Awareness Week runs from 30 November – 6 December 2015


For more information contact:

National PR – David Clarke @ Rock PR
E: M: 07773 225516
Tweet #sugarawarenessweek #cameronsobesityplan #actiononsugar

1. PHE, 2015. Making the case for tackling obesity: why invest?

2. Diabetes UK, 2014. The cost of diabetes report.

3. 1 Knai C, Petticrew M, Durand MA, et al. Has a public–private partnership resulted in action on healthier diets in England? An analysis of the Public Health Responsibility Deal food pledges. Food Policy 2015;54:1-10.

4. MacGregor GA, He FJ, Pombo-Rodrigues S. Food and the responsibility deal: how the salt reduction strategy was derailed by Andrew Lansley and the coalition government. BMJ 2015;350:h1935.



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