Ministers have shelved the publication of a report by their own health advisers on whether it is possible to tackle the obesity crisis through controversial moves such as taxing sugary drinks or banning two-for-one offers on sweet treats in supermarkets.
Public Health England was due on Friday to publish a detailed assessment of the likely success of a range of measures to curb the nation’s intake of sugar, which health experts say is too high.
But the agency’s year-long examination of the evidence for 23 different sugar reduction policies has been delayed, the Department of Health (DH) confirmed, prompting claims from the health lobby that minsters had taken a reckless and “disgraceful decision” that is an “appalling, retrograde step”.
Malcolm Clark, coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, an alliance of health, education and children’s organisations, said: “The government’s scrapping of Public Health England’s recommendations on sugar reduction looks like deplorable complacency in the face of a health epidemic. We hope this will not turn out to be an anti-science government.”
- .reducing portion sizes, such as “supersize” fizzy drinks sold in cinemas
- .introducing tighter controls on the advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children
- .banning the display of high-sugar products from near checkouts in supermarkets
- .improved labelling of foods to encourage healthier choices.