Critics: UK plan to cut child obesity lacks muscle

Drinks are on display at a supermarket in London, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016. Britain has unveiled a plan to battle rising child obesity by urging food manufacturers to cut down on sugar and getting primary schools to make pupils do more exercise. But health campaigners have slammed the government for failing to restrict junk food advertising aimed at children. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Britain unveiled a plan Thursday to battle rising child obesity by taxing sodas, urging food manufacturers to cut down on sugar and getting schoolchildren to exercise more

LONDON — Britain unveiled a plan Thursday to battle rising child obesity by taxing sodas, urging food manufacturers to cut down on sugar and getting schoolchildren to exercise more.

But health campaigners slammed the government for failing to restrict junk food advertising aimed at children.

The British population is one of the fattest in Western Europe. According to Public Health England, almost 62 percent of adults and 31 percent of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese.

The government wants manufacturers to cut the amount of sugar in cereals, yoghurts, candy, breads and desserts by 20 percent by 2020. The target is voluntary, but the government said it will consider "alternative levers" if it isn't met.

Primary schools are being asked to help pupils get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day — 30 minutes in gym class or active play, and 30 minutes outside school.

The government has already announced a "sugar tax" on sodas to start in 2018, with the money going to school sports and healthy school breakfasts.

Parveen Kumar, chairwoman of the British Medical Association board of science, said it's "incredibly disappointing" that the plan doesn't include restrictions on marketing of unhealthy food and drinks aimed at children.

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, a longtime campaigner against obesity, said the plan "contains a few nice ideas, but so much is missing."

He said "too much of it is voluntary, suggestive ... Where are the actions on the irresponsible advertising targeted at our children, and the restrictions on junk food promotions?"

You may also like these

Is NBC's prime-time Olympics due for a change?

Aug 12, 2016

For all the changes media and even Olympics coverage, NBC sticks to a time-honored formula for its...

Brian Williams to anchor late campaign newscast...

Aug 16, 2016

MSNBC's Brian Williams is getting a regular time slot, at least for a couple of months

Trial date set for ex-Patriots star Hernandez in...

Aug 16, 2016

A judge has set a trial date in February for former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez in...

Rape case from the past casts pallor on 'Birth of...

Aug 17, 2016

Hollywood trade publications are reporting that a woman who accused filmmaker Nate Parker of rape...

DeGeneres defends herself after posting photo...

Aug 17, 2016

Ellen DeGeneres says she's not racist after receiving backlash on social media for posting an...

Sign up now!