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MINUTES ON... DR MIRIAM STOPPARD Helping to keep you fit and healthy miriam@mirror.co.uk @MiriamStoppard Food industry must cut calories in savoury food by 20% to tackle childhood obesity.

Byline: DR MIRIAM STOPPARD

If food makers and restaurants reduced the calorie content of foods by 20% by 2024 it would save the NHS PS4.5billion and slash the social care bill by PS4.48billion.

Public Health England's challenge, announced on March 6, is part of the Government's childhood obesity strategy and aims to cut calories in foods such as pizza, ready meals, ready-made sandwiches, processed meat products and savoury snacks.

Alison Tedstone, PHE's chief nutritionist, said: "We know we must get to these foods because they are the lion's share of [children's intake of] calories.

"Sugar was a way in, but we need to start getting traction on childhood obesity.

"This is not about healthy options. A few healthy options will not help to solve the nation's obesity problem. We need the regular everyday products to change," she said.

For the first time PHE has published estimates of excess calories children are consuming, showing overweight and obese children are consuming up to 500 more calories a day than they need.

PHE has also launched a campaign to encourage adults to eat no more than 400 calories at breakfast and 600 calories at lunch and dinner.

"This is a handy rule of thumb. It's about having one number in your head when you go and buy a sandwich at lunchtime, for example", she said.

Russell Viner, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said that PHE was right to challenge the food industry but he wanted a wider package that included "early education on the importance of a balanced diet, encouraging children and young people to exercise regularly, preventing new fast-food shops opening near schools, and placing a ban on junk food TV advertising before the 9pm watershed."

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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 9, 2018
Words:290
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