Re-assess the UK's new 'tackling obesity' scheme

Re-assess the UK's new 'tackling obesity' scheme

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Grace Palmer started this petition to MP's and

On the 27th July 2020, the UK government released a paper titled 'Tackling obesity: empowering young adults and children to live healthier lives', as a means of dealing with the increasing obesity cases found in young people in the UK, especially in light of the current pandemic. Although the paper itself is full of good intentions, the fundamental actions the government are choosing to take perpetuate and feed into the damaging culture of eating disorders that are ever-growing in the UK. 

One of the most detrimental factors included in these guidelines is a 'fair deal' by revealing calorie labelling in restaurants and cafes so people can make 'healthier' choices. Yet with 1.25million people in the UK suffering from an eating disorder this does not exactly appear 'fair'. Making people acutely aware of the calories they're consuming can form consistent habits of calorie counting, leading to traits of 'restrictive eating', which (as BEAT claims) results in more common examples of eating disorders. As someone who has suffered from anorexia the idea of facing calories so explicitly is enough to disturb my recovery and set me on a course to avoid restaurants and cafes altogether. Yet, even for those who don't have a background in eating disorders; constantly being bombarded with the calorific intake in places where it's perfectly acceptable to 'indulge' can bring about a strain of thinking that encourages the public that 'fewer calories make a healthy lifestyle'. Weight is not always an indicator of health, and the government forcing this belief through this proposed scheme forms a public mindset that if you are not a certain weight then you are not healthy. 

The government needs to find new ways of tackling the obesity crisis in a truly fair way that does not result in perpetuating this idea that 'skinny' or 'fitter' men and women are the idealistic standard for everybody to be. This can include: 

- Fixing the price imbalance on healthier foods vs. unhealthy foods, to allow for those with financial difficulties to provide healthier choices for themselves and families. Energy-rich, nutritionally poor foods tend to be cheaper and more available in supermarkets, so fixing this imbalance could help encourage those who need to spend little, to make healthier choices that don't break the bank. 

- Preventing the advertisement of 'fast-food/unhealthy food' on children's TV and daytime TV. Although this was proposed in the 2020 paper, I believe the government can go further in reducing the number of adverts shown to children that promote unhealthy foods and replacing them with examples of healthy lifestyles that encourage balance over anything else. 

- Teaching issues surrounding both the issue of obesity alongside the issue of eating disorders to children and young adults throughout their educational careers. More needs to done to highlight to children the importance of developing a healthy relationship with food and weight so that the risk of developing eating disorders or falling into the obesity 'category' can be prevented. Teaching should be done throughout all stages of education, especially since issues of eating disorders and cases of obesity are higher in adolescents with their changing bodies. 

The way the government has approached the obesity factor through this paper shows they are not fully aware of how their plans greatly increase the risk factor of eating disorders that are so prevalent in the UK. Much more can be done to change this proposed scheme, and I implore you to sign, share this petition, alongside sending this to your local MP to encourage them to change the government's attitude towards tackling obesity. 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 200!
At 200 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!