LACA has shown its support for the Health and Social Care Committee’s recommendation to make school food standards mandatory for every school in England.
A key recommendation in the newly released Childhood obesity: Time for action report is for school food standards to be mandatory for all schools including all academies. Academies established between 2010 and 2014 are currently not obliged to adhere to the standards, totalling around 3,896, although some do voluntarily meet the guidelines.
“LACA welcome the launch of the report, the recommendations that school food standards become mandatory for all schools, is something that LACA wholeheartedly agree with,” said LACA chair Tim Blowers. “98.4% of packed lunches do not meet nutritional standards. In comparison, a school lunch provides a hot, healthy and balanced meal to children across the country. LACA are committed to tackling childhood obesity, and are looking forward to the governments’ forthcoming childhood obesity strategy.”
An updated childhood obesity strategy has been planned for this summer, leading the Health and Social Care Committee to publish its report with its own recommendations for the new plan, highlighting the areas in the last report from 2016 that have not yet been implemented. They include the establishment of a Healthy Rating Scheme.
The Committee has also set out new recommendations, including a revision to the current school food standards to account for the updated dietary recommendations for free sugars and fibre.
“Children are becoming obese at an earlier age and staying obese for longer,” said chair of the Committee, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP. “Obesity rates are highest for children from the most disadvantaged communities and this unacceptable health inequality has widened every year since records began. The consequences for these children are appalling and this can no longer be ignored.”
The Committee also supports recent campaigns to ban junk food advertising and marketing before 9pm and on sugary products in supermarkets. It calls for a 9p, watershed and a ban on brand-generated characters or licensed TV and film characters from being used to promote high fat, sugar and salt products.
It urges the government to ban confectionery and unhealthy foods from the ends of aisles and checkouts and restrict discounting and price promotions on unhealthy food and drink.