NHS England has banned confectionary packets containing more than 250 calories from stores found within its hospitals. These stores have notoriously stocked unhealthy snacks in the past which are consumed by patients, visitors and NHS staff.
The NHS had already implemented other measures to tackle the UK’s obesity problem. These included bans on price promotion of unhealthy foods and a mandatory availability of ‘healthy’ options at all times within its health centres and hospitals.
Dr Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at Public Health England said: “Hospitals have an important role in addressing obesity – not just treating those suffering the consequences, but helping to prevent it in the first place. Any plans to offer healthier food are a positive step towards tackling the country’s obesity problem.”
In England 61.7% of adults are overweight or obese, this figure is around 50% for NHS staff. These statistics paint a stark picture of the obesity problem in the UK. The Chief Executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens said the NHS was combating an issue that was causing: “an epidemic of obesity, preventable diabetes, tooth decay, heart disease and cancer”.
It is estimated that obesity costs the economy £27 billion each year and it is important that the NHS leads by example on this subject.
Share your thoughts: how effective is it to target the number of calories per packet - and should more attention be paid to their nutritional value?