A lot of people in the UK – like Jamie Oliver – are disappointed in the newly released action plan for tackling childhood obesity.
What was laid out as an important turning point in health, turns out to instead consist mostly of weak messages about personal responsibility and utopian dreams about the fast-food industry taking responsibility.
So what’s missing? Strategies that would have real effects, such as bans on junk food ads to children. The only thing of real value is the soda tax, planned for 2018. But in isolation it’s unlikely to have more than a minor impact.
It’s naive and uninformed to think that the food industry will take responsibility and self-regulate. There are numerous examples showing that that simply doesn’t work. The only explanation to keep this failed strategy is influence from industry lobbyists.
Companies that care for things other than profitability rapidly lose market share. In other words, the industry is simply unable to regulate itself. The only chance is a leveled playing field, where all junk food companies have to comply with the same regulations.
If we instead let the junk food firms do what they want, our children will be the ones who pay the price.