Lynne Neagle MS, Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing
Today, I am launching two consultations about healthy food environments and ending the sale of energy drinks to children and young people under 16. These mark an important step towards delivering our ambitious plans set out in our 10-year strategy Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales.
Obesity is one of the most significant challenges we face as a population and is one of the key risk factors in many non-communicable diseases and is one of the greatest causes of the number of years lived in disability.
Overweight and obesity affects more than 60% of adults and more than one in three children at reception age. Early results from studies conducted in a number of countries suggest the prevalence of overweight and obesity has increased in children and adolescents during the pandemic.
To drive positive change we have to take a multi-pronged approach. This includes changing our wider food environment to one which both encourages and makes it easier for us to make positive choices for our health. A regional report on obesity by the World Health Organisation, which was launched this month, makes it clear that “efforts to prevent obesity need to consider the wider determinants of the disease, and policy options should move away from approaches that focus on individuals and address the structural drivers of obesity”.
We want to create an environment across Wales where the healthy choice is the easy choice.
The healthy food environment consultation focuses on three themes – healthier shopping baskets; healthier eating out-of-the-home and healthier local food environments. The proposals we are asking people to consider, include restricting the promotion of certain foods and drink; mandating the display of calories in restaurants and food outlets and using existing planning and licensing powers to consider the density of hot food takeaways in a particular area.
We want to use our existing powers and policy approaches to develop change across Wales.
The second consultation aims to use existing powers to end the sale of energy drinks to children and young people under 16.
My officials will engage with a range of stakeholders to discuss the proposals and capture in-depth insight and feedback. This will include gathering opinions from the public and from specific focus groups to ensure we hear from and gather differing views. We will also hold specific industry and stakeholder engagement events and will put in place approaches to ensure we hear directly from children and young people from across Wales.
Attached is the link to the consultations: