Tackling the obesity crisis in Liverpool

Since 1st September I have been the Lib Dem spokesperson for Health and Social Care at the Local Government Assaociation. I took the job because I believe that this is one of the most crucial areas of concern both for health and our ability to pay for ill health. If the political parties are honest about it we need to admit that we cannot continue for ever to increase spending on the Health Service. We need to stop people becoming ill in the first place!
I had intended to do something about the major problems caused by the overuse of salt and sugar in our diet. 8 days ago I saw a very interesting report in the Independent from the Soil Association. As it summed up the problem admirably I have submitted a motion about it to the next meeting of the Council where I hope it will be called.
We all have a responsibiity in dealing with this. We must be more responsible for what we eat; what our family eats and what the Government allows us to eat. It suits the interests of big business to get us addicted to certain food and drinks just as it usd to suit the tobacco indusstry.
Our Lib Dem motion then is about what we can do; what the council can do and what the Government can do. If it does not succeed in being discussed at council I will take it to an appropriate committe.
Please let Erica and I know what you think

Tackling the Avalanche of Obesity

Council notes the increasing obesity of people throughout the Country which is replicated within the City of Liverpool.

It notes that obesity in childhood leads to health problems throughout life including;

Poor development of the skeletal structure
Type 2 diabetes
Heart problems,
Lung problems
Liver problems and
Kidney problems

And that these cumulatively lead to premature deaths of up to 10 years.

It notes that the Government has suppressed a report on the corrosive effects of excess sugar in the nations health but that the Soil Association has produced a report “out to lunch” which spells out the amount of sugar in drinks and desserts which can lead to children having up to 8 times the recommended amount of sugar for a day in one sitting.

It particularly highlights the meals available in Pizza Hut; Frankie & Bennies and Nandos for the sugar excess.

Council believes that there are two ways to deal with this:

Firstly it requests the City Solicitor to work with the Director of Public Health to draw up a Parliamentary Bill which would give the council the powers to both regulate the amount of sugar in foods sold in fast food outlets, restaurants and takeaways and in food retailers and also to ensure that all fold should show appropriate signage showing the proportion of sugar and salt in foods and beverages sold compared to the daily average; and

Secondly requests the Director of Public Health to work with the Clinical Commissioning Group to promote a health awareness campaign within the city to highlight the real dangers to long-term health of excessive salt and sugar in diets.

And in addition asks the Director of Public Health to convene a conference for owners and managers of all retail food outlets, cafes, restaurants and takeaways to highlight the dangers starting with the three chains mentioned above.

Cllr Richard Kemp  CBE.                Cllr Erica Kemp CBE

Update 30/11/2015

The Health Seelct Coimmittee has justr publised a very good report on this issue which suggests all sorts of activity.

Please find below the press release that they have issued:

Report findings

The report highlights nine areas for improvement. They are

§  Strong controls on price promotions of unhealthy food and drink

§  Tougher controls on marketing and advertising of unhealthy food and drink

§  A centrally led reformulation programme to reduce sugar in food and drink

§  A sugary drinks tax on full sugar soft drinks, in order to help change behaviour, with all proceeds targeted to help those children at greatest risk of obesity

§  Labelling of single portions of products with added sugar to show sugar content in teaspoons

§  Improved education and information about diet

§  Universal school food standards

§  Greater powers for local authorities to tackle the environment leading to obesity

§  Early intervention to offer help to families of children affected by obesity and further research into the most effective interventions

Chair’s comment

Chair of the Health Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, says:

“One third of children leaving primary school are overweight or obese, and the most deprived children are twice as likely to be obese than the least deprived. This has serious consequences for both their current and future health and wellbeing and we cannot continue to fail these children. There are many causes and no one single or simplistic approach will provide the answer. We therefore urge the Prime Minister to make a positive and lasting difference to children’s health and life chances through bold and wide ranging measures within his childhood obesity strategy.

We believe that if the Government fails to act, the problem will become far worse. A full package of bold measures is required and should be implemented as soon as possible. We believe that a sugary drinks tax should be included in these measures with all proceeds clearly directed to improving our children’s health.”

For once I agree with a Tory!!!


About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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4 Responses to Tackling the obesity crisis in Liverpool

  1. mediapenguin says:

    I was in a shop queue the other day behind a large young girl just after school. Sge bought coke, crispa and biscuits and was guzzling before leaving the premises. I was sorely tempted to say sonething. This is a parental matter not one of taxation.

    • richardkemp says:

      Thanks for this. I think that this is largely a matter of parental and personal responsibility. BUT do they know what is in these foods and drinks? I think hardly anyone would think that one ice cream and two fizzy drinks would give a child 7 times the recommended amount of sugar for an entire day. The legislation that I would prefer is not taxation but minimum and maximum levels of sugar (and salt) and proper information on the amounts at point of sale and on all packaging.

      • mediapenguin says:

        Im not sure that ignorance is bliss is right. There isnt a week goes by without a mainstream Tv programme bombarding people with how much sugar is in a tub of yoghurt never mind a can of pop.

  2. Paul Traynor says:

    Richard ,John Ruskin wrote a book pure white and deadly about sugar in Western diets Jamie Oliver’s campaign is getting a terrible rap about the dangers of excess sugars when I was studying nutrition sugar was pointed out as the single most cause of obesity of course there are mutiple other causes lack of excersise education and a reduction of sugar by the food industry is needed
    Not suppressed reports

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