Welsh Government unveils proposals to tackle obesity

RCPCH's Officer for Wales welcomes the focus the proposals place on children and the early years but calls on the Government to move quickly to support children who need weight management support now.

Health Minister Vaughan Gething has today launched his Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales plan which aims to combat the greatest public health challenge facing Wales: obesity.

The plans include proposals to limit the use of advertising and promotion of unhealthy food in public places in order to support mothers who are overweight or obese during pregnancy and mandating calorie labelling for food purchased and eaten outside of the home.

Responding to the publication of Welsh Government’s Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales plan, Dr David Tuthill, Officer for Wales, for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) said:

Vaughan Gething is right. There is no quick fix when it comes to tackling obesity but if we are to create a healthier, more prosperous Wales, getting it right in childhood is an excellent place to start. We know overweight children are much more likely to become the next generation of overweight adults so this plan’s focus on children and young people, the early years and maternal health is very welcome.

There are a number of proposals which if implemented, will lay firm foundations for good health including those to make the healthy choice the easy choice by regulating unhealthy price promotions and providing clear front of pack labelling. We are pleased to see support for overweight or obese pregnant women. It is important that the NHS practices what it preaches and develops food and nutrition standards that all NHS sites must adhere to.

However, with over a quarter of children already overweight or obese by the time they start primary school, there is a risk they will be left behind unless access to services is addressed. The Welsh Government must review and implement a clinical obesity pathway quickly to prevent this from happening.

A consultation on Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales is now open and the RCPCH will be responding.