Campaign to cut calories

Public Health England wants all adults to get into the habit of counting the calories to limit their consumption at breakfast lunch and dinner

Britain's food industry was challenged by the government Tuesday to reduce the amount of calories in products used by families by 20 percent as part of a new strategy to cut childhood and adult obesity.

In addition, the government has challenged the food industry to: change the recipe of products, reduce portion size, and encourage consumers to purchase lower calorie products.

One of the fastest ways to blow your daily calorie count is by eating out, so Public Health England has enlisted many popular food chains to highlight the meals that fit with the 400-600-600 rule to make it simpler for people to follow.

A total of 21 firms are considering a plan to remove 20 per cent of the calories from foods like pizzas, crisps and ready meals by 2024.

PHE estimated the programs could save the NHS £4.8bn over the next 25 years, a further £4.2bn in social care costs and prevent 35,000 early deaths.

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said: "Britain needs to go on a diet".

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The move comes on the back of new evidence estimating that overweight or obese boys and girls consume up to 500 and 290 calories too many each day, respectively, while adults are consuming and excess of 200 to 300 calories daily.

"The industry can help families by finding innovative ways to lower the calories in the food we all enjoy and promoting United Kingdom business leadership on the world stage in tackling obesity", he added.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis spoke last week about encouraging healthier eating from his stores at the City Food Lecture, in Guildhall, London, calling for "heavy duty transformational change".

According to figures from 2015/6 63.6% of adults are overweight or obese in Suffolk and 61.9% in Essex.

"It is fuelling an epidemic of preventable illnesses like type II diabetes and cancer".

Duncan Selbie, chief executive of PHE, said: "Industry can help families by finding innovative ways to lower the calories in the food we all enjoy and promoting United Kingdom business leadership on the world stage in tackling obesity".

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Aside from detrimental affects on health, obesity leads to conditions that directly cost the NHS around £6 billion a year to treat, and also impacts on employment, earnings and wider economic productivity.

"These not only shorten lives but put unsustainable pressure on our health service".

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: "It's hard for people to make healthy food choices. That's why we are challenging the food industry to take 20% of the calories out of everyday foods, building on their good work on salt and promising announcements on sugar".

In response to their findings, the health body has launched a tool to help people make healthier choices about their calorie intake.

Category guidelines for the food industry - retailers, manufacturers, major restaurants, café, takeaway, and delivery companies as well as the health and charity sectors - are expected to be published in mid-2019.

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