British kids’ diets the worst in Europe - The Food Foundation calls for an action plan for good food at parliamentary meeting

Today at a meeting in Parliament with leading MPs from all parties, we will call on a new Action Plan for Good Food.

UK children face high levels of both obesity and food insecurity, making the UK the worst for overall diets across Europe.

  1. 10% of children start school living with obesity.
  2. Children in the most deprived areas of Britain already experience twice the levels of obesity than children in the least deprived 
  3. 10% of children in households affected by severe food insecurity
  4. Unhealthy foods are three times cheaper than healthy foods 

We are calling for concerted, cross government action to deal with a time bomb that is already impacting children’s education attainment, and their current and long-term health.

Today we launch a new briefing paper in parliament calling for:

  • A Good Food National Action Plan: A new set of policies for Good Food from the government which puts public health goals at its heart.  The Action Plan needs to bring together a wide range of players from DEFRA, the NHS and Public Health England, industry, producers, civil society, schools and early years providers and parents groups to ensure a strong coherent implementation team.  The first priority must be an Agriculture Bill which purposively supports good, healthy food.
  • Measuring Food Insecurity: With so many families suffering from food insecurity – a problem that will only rise with rising inflation – it is crucial that, like other countries such as the United States, we measure food insecurity so that we assess whether the current and future measures are truly impacting families who are skipping meals and whose diets are truly bad for their health.
  • A clearer prioritisation of pregnancy and early years: The first 1000 days of life are the most important for securing life-long good nutrition.  Currently food in pre-school settings is a clear policy gap. This needs immediate prioritisation to ensure that the next generation being born today do not get caught in this vortex of bad diets.
  • Learning from Others: Better engagement by the UK government (DFID plus Department of Health and DEFRA) in international action to tackle malnutrition globally so we are more accountable for our international commitments but also bring lessons from other countries to the UK.

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