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Food Active Supporter Bulletin
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Food Active Supporter Bulletin
December 2016

CAP LAUNCHES RULES AROUND JUNK FOOD MARKETING TO CHILDREN

Back in July 2016, along with a number of other health organisation including the Children's Food Campaign and The Obesity Health Alliance, of whom we are a member, Food Active responded to the CAP Consultation: food and soft drink advertising to children. Yesterday, the new rules on the advertising of high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) food or drink products in children’s media were launched. The rules will apply across all non-broadcast media including in print, cinema and, crucially, online and in social media.

In summary:
  • Ads that directly or indirectly promote an HFSS product cannot appear in children’s media
  • Ads for HFSS products cannot appear in other media where children make up over 25% of the audience
  • Ads for HFSS products will not be allowed to use promotions, licensed characters and celebrities popular with children; advertisers may now use those techniques to better promote healthier options
  • The Department of Health nutrient profiling model will be used to classify which products are HFSS
The new rules are a start, and we are pleased to see CAP recognise that restrictions should apply to kids up to the age of 16. However it is concerning that the new restrictions only apply when it can be shown that at least 25% of the audience are children, meaning that a significant number of children could still be exposed to adverts for HFSS products. Additionally, the lack of restrictions around packaging and the use of brand characters is disappointing, as these have been shown to be highly effective marketing techniques and generally appear on the less healthy products. 

Prior to the release of the new rules, our Research Officer Beth Bradshaw wrote a blog on her take on junk food marketing to children. You can have a read here.
FIND A LINK TO THE NEW CAP RULES HERE
SOFT DRINKS INDUSTRY LEVY - THE LATEST

Earlier this week the soft drinks industry levy was included in the Draft Finance Bill, published by The Treasury. This was the next stage in the process which we hope will result in the levy becoming law in April 2018. The draft legislation details the overall scope of the levy, the definitions for what is included, and what is not. The actual levy rates are yet to be formally announced.
 
The threat of a soft drinks levy is already having an effect, with announcements from Tesco and Ribena-Lucozade that they will reduce all of their products below the 5gm sugar per 100ml tax threshold by 2018.
 
Of course, the levy doesn't include everything we asked for. The majority of sugary milk-based drinks, powdered drinks and syrups will be exempt. However promotional freebies have been included which is good news.  The Treasury has said they will examine producer & consumer behaviour once the tax has been implemented and look to close loopholes if necessary; we hope that this will reduce the possibilities of industry replacing taxable forms of free sugars with exempt ones, for example pure fruit juice.
FIND A SUMMARY OF THE RESPONSES HERE
SOCIAL ATTITUDES TO OBESITY SURVEY

Yesterday, Public Health England released the finding from the 2015 British Social Attitudes Survey - Attitudes to obesity. The paper presents new findings on attitudes in Britain towards obesity and looks at what may be done to reduce obesity prevalence. The report finds that despite people appreciating some of the health risks of obesity, many do not recognise it when it does occur, particularly in men. Survey results showed that out of those asked 54% correctly identify when a woman is obese, but just 39% correctly identified this for a man. When asked who should be responsible for trying to reduce obesity, 80% said the individuals who are obese themselves, 60% said health care professionals, 54% said food and drink manufacturers, 37% said supermarkets and 36% said media.

This research suggests a considerable challenge for those who seek to reduce the prevalence of obesity in Britain. However, the report states that "people do not seem to object to collective action designed to reduce obesity, especially if that action is seemingly targeted at food manufacturers, who prove to be second only to medical professionals and obese people themselves in being perceived to have a responsibility to try to reduce obesity."
LINK TO THE BSA REPORT HERE
COCA-COLA "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" LETTER OF OBJECTION

On Tuesday 29th November, Food Active sent a letter of objection to the Coca-Cola "Happy Holidays" truck visiting the North West to The Guardian and six local newspapers, including the Lancaster Guardian, the Manchester Evening News, the St Helens Star, the Liverpool Echo, The Daily Post and the Wrexham Leader. This letter was signed by the President of the Faculty of Public Health, five Northwest based Directors of Public Health (including 3 in Merseyside), a Consultant Cardiologist at the Royal and some senior academics from the University of Liverpool; 108 signatories in all. This was also accompanied with a press release to regional media.

The letter was picked up with small features in the Lancaster Guardian and the Daily Post, but we were shocked by the lack of coverage in comparison to the huge amount of advertising the truck received in all local media. We followed up the letter and release and were surprised that the local press seemed to have ignored the story.

 

Whilst we appreciate newspapers do take an editorial stance, we think it is important to provide an alternative view. We have written again making this point, this time to the Editors of the Liverpool Echo and the Manchester Evening News, and we will keep you updated.

THE EATWELL GUIDE - FURTHER EVIDENCE

STOP PRESS: Public Health England have today launched a report 'From Plate to Guide: What, why and how for the eatwell model'. The report details the process PHE took in updating the eatwell plate, which was the national food model from 2007 to 2016. The process took two years and a great deal of consultation and in March 2016 the eatwell guide was launched. You can read the full report below.
LINK TO THE REPORT HERE
ACTION ON SUGAR...IN CAKES!

This week Action on Sugar released a report revealing staggering high levels of sugar and calories in so-called ‘fruity cakes’ (lemon, blueberry and carrot). Whilst cakes may be consumed as an occasional food, they are in fact one of the main contributors of sugar intake in children.  Food Active supports Action on Sugar's continued pressure on food manufacturers and cafes to get behind Public Health England’s voluntary sugar reduction programme to help tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes – the biggest public health concerns facing Britain today.
READ THE ACTION ON SUGAR REPORT HERE
THE AUTUMN STATEMENT: NORTH-SOUTH DIVIDE
 
Yet again, northern cities and the economy seem to have lost out to London and the south. Whilst Phillip Hammond recognised the North-South divide in the Autumn Statement, there do not appear to be plans in place to address this.

It seems that yet again, the south of England will receive investment in infrastructure, transport, jobs and housing, whilst the North is left to its own devices. This is reflected in the disparities in life expectancy, general health status and educational attainment found between the North and the South of England. How long can this continue?

To read the full article by the Guardian, click the link below.
READ THE GUARDIAN ARTICLE HERE
ELDERLY MALNUTRITION - A MODERN WESTERN SCANDAL

A recent article published by The Guardian into elderly malnutrition indicates that the number of admittances to hospital is dramatically on the rise, blaming cuts to community meals, shortages in social care and poverty as the causes for this trend. Furthermore, there are additional clinical and socioeconomic changes to the body as we age which can make reaching a healthy, nutritious diet even more difficult.

What can be done to prevent this trend from continuing whilst also reducing the length of stay in hospitals and re-admittance, which is posing such a great burden to NHS and healthcare systems?

To find out more, click on the link below to read Food Active’s latest blog, by Beth Bradshaw, on elderly malnutrition in the UK.
READ OUR ELDERLY MALNUTRITION BLOG HERE
NHS CONSULTATION ON A SUGARY DRINKS TAX

As reported previously, in November the NHS Chief Executive announced plans to reduce sales and consumption of sugar sweetened beverages in hospitals as part of its Five Year Forward Plan, in an attempt to improve the health and wellbeing of their employees, which currently totals 1.3m staff making the NHS the largest employer in Europe. However, within this workforce, a reported 700,000 are currently classified as overweight or obese, a factor known to increase the number of lost days in work due to illness.

Plans suggests all vendors will be levied a fee for all sugar sweetened beverages on sale situated on NHS premises, coherent with the Governments plans for a Sugar Tax but will come into force in 2017 as opposed to 2018. Such plans to tackle sugar consumption in hospital settings in England would be the first of its kind, leading by example to prompt other countries healthcare to take similar action.

Creating a healthier food environment in healthcare settings will send a powerful, valuable and consistent message to patients and their visiting families and friends. As such, a healthier workforce is a happier, more productive workforce. Additionally, with the rising prevalence of non-communicable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, NHS staff must practice and model what they are preaching to an increasing number of children, adults and elderly regarding their diet and lifestyle choices.

The planned consultation will close on January 18th 2017 and allows members of the public, professionals, industry, patients and carers to express their views on proposed plans.

Food Active will be responding and will circulate a draft before the Christmas break.

To find out more and have your say, follow the link below.
READ THE CONSULTATION DOCUMENT HERE
TEENAGERS CONSUMING 'A BATHTUB OF SUGARY DRINKS' EVERY YEAR
 
Last month, Cancer Research UK claimed that teenagers in the UK are drinking a bathtub of sugar sweetened beverages every day, the equivalent to 234 330ml cans.

The claim was calculated using the latest NDNS statistics, and despite consumption having fallen in response to raised awareness of the health effects of SSB’s and the proposed sugar tax in the UK prompting product reformulations, the picture of the futures generations sugar consumption is still very dull and disappointing, and there is still a long way to go. The issue is still of epidemic proportions and further action is needed to guarantee a healthier future for the next generation. Read the Cancer Research UK article here and keep up to date with blogs by Food Active tackling current threats to public health.
READ THE CANCER RESEARCH ARTICLE HERE
TESCO, NESTLE, LUCOZADE AND RIBENA ANNOUNCE REFORMULATIONS
 
It has emerged over the past few weeks, food and beverage companies such as Tesco, Ribena, Lucozade and Ribena have started to announce plans for product reformulations in response to the proposed sugar tax and to avoid paying the tax of high sugar products.

Lucozade and Ribena claim all of their sugar sweetened beverages will contain less than 4.5g/100ml, missing out on the lower band of taxation and Tesco claim their customers are now on average consuming 20% less sugar than they did in 2011. Nestle, the Swiss food giant, have announced their researchers have found a way of reducing the sugar content in their chocolate products by 40% without comprising on taste - by altering the structure of sugar which fools our taste buds into thinking the product is sweeter than it actually is.

Whilst this is promising news, there is still much more to be done in terms of creating a healthier food environment for current and future generations.

The sugar tax is a turning into a success before it has even been implemented - as the Government stated when plans were announced, this is not a tax on consumers and the purpose was to prompt industry to make their products healthier by reducing the sugar content, which these recent announcements by big food and beverage companies suggest is beginning to occur.
TWEET OF THE MONTH
 

3165 impressions and 192 engagements.
KNOWLEDGE SHARE
 
We would like to use this section to give you the opportunity to ask questions or request information from public health colleagues across the region. Please email your requests to info@foodactive.org.uk and we will include it in the next bulletin (January).
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