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FDS among organisations urging PM to give Childhood Obesity Plan 'the green light'

15 Jul 2020

Ahead of the Prime Minister’s imminent plans to address obesity in the UK, the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FDS) joins Action on Sugar, Action on Salt and 46 other leading health charities and researchers representing both the treatment and prevention of obesity, in writing to Mr Johnson, urging him to implement all outstanding recommendations previously committed to in the first three chapters of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan. 

The letter1 sets out how living with obesity increases the risk of developing among others diseases, thirteen types of cancer, as well as worsening the outcomes for COVID-19. Treatment costs to the NHS are currently £6.1bn per year, with an estimated cost to the wider economy of £27bn.

The Childhood Obesity Plan included a number of proposals aimed at reducing excessive sugar consumption, which is also one of the main reasons that children experience tooth decay. This is an issue that the FDS has campaigned on extensively in recent years, as tooth decay is the leading cause of hospital admissions amongst five to nine year olds by some distance: there were 25,702 such admissions in 2018-192.

Action on Sugar and Action on Salt’s traffic light Scorecard 2020: The road to preventing obesity3 analyses the Government’s commitments against progress of the three chapters, finding that many of the core recommendations aimed at improving the lives of both children and adults living with obesity - such as sugar and calorie reduction targets and clearer nutrition labels on food and drink products - have disappointingly been side lined and are ‘stuck at the traffic lights’.

For the Prime Minister’s new obesity plan to be effective and change the health trajectory of future generations, a robust and joined up policy package is required, including the vital 9pm watershed to limit advertising and marketing of less healthy food across all media platforms, allowing families to see more of the products that are good for them. 

Dean of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England (FDS), Mr Matthew Garrett said:

“The Faculty is pleased to be part of a wide group working in healthcare, all aware of how vital it is we seize the moment. While we have in the past welcomed the government’s action on the soft drinks industry levy, this is still to be expanded to sugary milk drinks, and sugar reduction targets are yet to be tackled.

“It is right that we push the Prime Minister to implement the outstanding recommendations the government has committed to: prevention is better than cure and these measures are essential to secure a healthy future for the next generation, including one that avoids preventable tooth decay.”

Notes to editors

1. Letter to Prime Minister:

2. NHS Digital’s Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity, 2018-19:

3. CASSH Scorecard 2020: The road to preventing obesity:

4. The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling dentists and specialists to provide patients with the highest possible standards of practice and care.

5. For more information, please contact the RCS Press Office:

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