Calorie reduction: the scope and ambition for action
Public Health England have today launched their latest plans to cut excessive calorie intake, as part of their strategy to cut childhood and adult obesity.
The Calorie Reduction Programme includes:
- a challenge to the food industry to reduce calories in products consumed by families by 20% by 2024
- the launch of the latest One You campaign: Aim for 400-600-600, encouraging adults to consume 400 calories at breakfast, and 600 for lunch and dinner; this comes as adults consume 200 to 300 calories in excess each day
The 20% reduction target was brought about as a result of analysis of calorie consumption data, experience of both the salt and sugar reduction programmes, and more than 20 meetings with the food industry. Industry are now encouraged to work on reducing the total calorie content of their products by:
- changing the recipe of products
- reducing portion size
- encouraging consumers to purchase lower calorie products
Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at Queen Mary University of London and Chairman of CASH and Action on Sugar says:
"We applaud PHE’s plans to reformulate and cut excess calorie consumption in what could be a ground breaking campaign. However, in order for it to be successful, it is imperative that the 20% calorie reduction targets are properly enforced and transparent. We also need clear guidance from Government on what will happen if the food industry fails to comply, as it is vital that the industry is given a level-playing field and all companies, both retail and Out of Home, fully co-operate.
Furthermore, whilst the One You campaign is a good rule of thumb, it won't go far enough as an educational campaign in terms of changing consumer behaviour, especially when targeting the socially deprived who are at most risk of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes. There is also a danger that this awareness campaign could simply be used as a marketing tool by food retailers and the Out of Home sector to sell more products."