RCPCH responds to CMO report on obesity

The Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has today released an independent report entitled "Time to Change Childhood Obesity". RCPCH President, Professor Russell Viner, responds.

The report makes recommendations to address and reduce childhood obesity. These aim to change behaviours and norms, building on existing commitments, and range from extending the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to sweetened milk-based drinks to improving air quality  and safety in our built environment in order to create opportunities for children to be active and healthy.

Responding to this report, Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:

Childhood obesity is at the highest level since records began. One in three children are overweight or obese by age 11. This is not a sustainable situation for public health and we are storing up significant problems for the future. It doesn’t have to be this way and today’s report provides a vital prescription for change.                              

The report rightly challenges the food industry and government to step up and accept responsibility for its role in the obesity epidemic.

The levy on soft drinks is working and shows the power of government action where industries fail to self-regulate. It is time to go further. We fully support the call for a ban on junk food advertising on all content children watch - including sports events. We back proposals to restrict fast food outlets near schools.

As doctors our primary responsibility is to the future health and wellbeing of children. Health professionals can’t do this on our own and it’s not right or fair to place the burden of responsibility on parents and children. Children have a right to a healthy, happy childhood – it’s our job as adults to make that happen.