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September 1, 2022
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ADPH and Food Active call on new office to show clear commitment on reducing obesity

Lead Director of Public Health for Food Active, Professor Matthew Ashton, and Vice President of the Association of Directors of Public Health, Greg Fell, call on the new leader of the Conservative Party to reconsider the delays to important regulations to limit unhealthy food and drink marketing and advertising.

In May this year Food Active coordinated a letter signed by 12 Directors of Public Health from across the North of England to the then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging him to reconsider the 12-month implementation delay to regulations that will reduce unhealthy food and drink advertising on TV and online, as well as multibuy promotions.

Maggie Throup MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vaccines and Public Health, responded to the letter in July, citing the ongoing cost of living crisis as the reason for the 12-month delay.

This week, Matthew Ashton and Greg Fell responded to Maggie Throup MP in an attempt to understand more about the arguments and evidence cited by the government suggesting that delays to these regulations will mitigate the cost-of-living crisis. The letter also calls for the new Conservative leader to show their commitment to promoting healthy weight from the start by reconsidering the delays to implementing important regulations limiting unhealthy food and drink marketing and advertising.

Professor Matthew Ashton, ADPH Policy Lead for Healthy Places and Lead Director of Public Health, Food Active, said:

"As local and national leaders in public health, we are acutely aware of the challenges our communities face in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

"What we really want to see is leadership and commitment from Number 10 on reducing obesity. With the new leader of the Conservative Party due to be announced in just a matter of days, we look forward to working with them to prioritise public health."

Nicola Calder, Food Active Programme Lead said:

"As the timescale, set by the government to halve childhood obesity grows narrower, we are increasingly concerned about further delays to implementation of regulations that will reduce unhealthy food and drink advertising.

"Evidence demonstrates that this legislation will not impact negatively on families during the cost-of-living crisis, the government must review their position regarding the introduction of the regulations, if we are to get anywhere close to reducing current rates of overweight and obesity."

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