Home Parliamentary Years National Nutrition Bill
National Nutrition Bill
Tuesday, 22 October 2002
4.38 pm


Ms Oona King (Bethnal Green and Bow) : I beg to move,


    That leave be given to bring in a Bill to provide for the establishment of a national nutrition strategy; to provide development funding for Primary Care Trusts to address the issue of diet and obesity; to establish a minimum requirement for physical activity in schools; to develop a system of food labelling to enable consumers to identify high-fat foods and total calorie content; and to make it a requirement for health warnings to be displayed on all packaged convenience food with a high-fat or sugar content.


The arguments for a Government-backed nutritional strategy centre on three facts: the scale of the problem of obesity among adults and children, the health and economic consequences of obesity, and the fact that although obesity—like smoking—is portrayed as an issue of personal choice and action, the Government are in a position to make the healthy choice the easy choice for all our citizens.

The scale of the problem is alarming and growing. The latest figures quoted by the British Heart Foundation show that 46 per cent. of men and 32 per cent. of women are overweight. Moreover, 17 per cent. of men and 21 per cent. of women are obese. One in five six-year-olds in England is overweight, and one in 10 is obese. One in three 15-year-olds is overweight and the figure for obesity is nearly one in five. In the last decade the percentage of overweight children in the United Kingdom has virtually doubled. The worrying fact is that overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults with reduced life expectancy.