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BRIEFING


Tackling obesity


in the EU The UK is not alone in its obesity crisis, nor in renewed efforts to tackle it. Today, over half of adults in the EU are overweight or obese according to Eurostat, and Euractiv reports obesity levels across the continent have nearly tripled since the 1980s. While some EU initiatives addressing the issue are already in play – like the Farm to Fork strategy that includes an objective to reverse obesity rates by 2030 by encouraging the food industry to offer more affordable healthy food options – experts argue more needs to be done on the policy front. As substitute member of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee João Ferreira writes in The Parliament Magazine: “The prevention and treatment of obesity requires political choices. Choices that influence the availability, production and dissemination of food products. Public interest must prevail over profit maximization on food commodities, as well as over the food industry lobby’s influence on decision-making.”


operators “doing their bit” to make their off erings healthier, such as low-FSS meal deal options. “It’s all part of the eff ort to attain a better balance of good health… It’s a long journey and we have come a long way, but it’s still not perfect.”


Shock tactics and new policy To drive forward the healthy eating movement on a national scale, Edwards understands tough policy changes will be needed to incentivize businesses and the public. Changes like next year’s incoming laws tackling “unhealthy eating habits” by regulating the marketing of HFSS foods via restricting promotions and the introduction of a pre-9pm


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“It’s all part of the effort to attain a better balance of good health… It’s a long journey and we have come a long way, but it’s still not perfect”


advertising ban on junk food to address childhood obesity. He also hopes policymakers will back shock tactics such as the Sugar and Salt Reformulation Tax in processed foods, restaurants and catering businesses as proposed in Leon founder Henry Dimbleby’s government-commissioned National Food Strategy report, though not at the expense of conscientious


operators and consumers, he notes. “Implementing such changes


into policy could galvanize all types of caterers and manufacturers to think in the right direction.” However, he’s wary some new legislation won’t entirely hit the mark, while adding pressure on operators already dealing with unforeseen challenges in the aftermath of Covid-19. For example, the proposed introduction in April 2022 of mandatory calorie counts on menus at foodservice businesses with over 250 employees. “While many operators within the contract catering sector and some larger chain restaurants have already been doing this or will be


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