Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum

Next steps for tackling childhood obesity in England - policy options, implementation practicalities, local approaches and the role of schools

Morning, Thursday, 9th May 2019

Central London


At a key time for decisions on the future direction of policy, it is bringing policymakers together with stakeholders in public health and the food and drink industry.

Delegates will discuss the local approaches to  tackling obesity, the role of schools, marketing issues, and latest thinking insights from research - including on behaviour change.

Delegates will consider the issues in the context of responses to consultations on the second chapter of the Government’s Childhood obesity plan for action - looking at in-store placement and promotion of HFSS products, the sale of energy drinks to children, and calorie labelling in the out-of-home sector.

We expect discussion on practicalities and implementation issues, as well as the expectations of businesses of different scales within the food sector, and of other stakeholders in public health, education, local authorities and families.

The conference takes place with the recently-launched consultation on advertising restrictions on products high in fat, sugar and salt.

Delegates will consider how advertising policy and regulation might develop across the range of media and online platforms and the timelines for any changes, as well as assessing progress through the voluntary sugar reduction and calorie reduction programmes.

In light of the new Change4Life campaign we expect discussion to bring out latest thinking on making healthier choices easier, drawing on research findings, latest innovative approaches and insights on consumer habits and attitudes. 

The agenda also examines the role of schools and other education settings in encouraging healthy lifestyles and behaviours, and how leadership and action in this area should be measured.

We expect discussion on investment of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenue, the priorities for the commitment within the Childhood obesity plan for an update to the School Food Standards, and the cross-government School Sport and Activity Action Plan.

The discussion will be informed by the Whole Systems Approach to Obesity programme - which worked with 11 local authorities to help deliver coordinated actions on childhood obesity - and the Trailblazer programme which is supporting local authorities to develop plans to reduce child obesity.

Sessions examine the way forward for collaboration, looking at best practice in the development of local approaches to support children and families in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

The seminar will also discuss how public and private sector bodies can work together to improve prevention and delivery of support - drawing on experience from across local government, the NHS, schools, parent groups, the third sector and industry.

Further sessions include the role of the out-of-home sector in reducing child obesity and ways in which this can be achieved such as portion size, calorie labelling and recipe modification.

This will be informed by practical initiatives and new insights from local, national and international research, including latest thinking on the impact of product reformulation on consumer behaviour.

Delegates will also consider how local authorities can develop a healthy local food environment looking at the planning and locality of fast food outlets, making the most of green spaces and encouraging active travel.

Keynote Speaker

Richard Sangster

Head, Obesity Policy, Department of Health and Social Care

Keynote Speakers

Andrew Hudson

Assistant Director, Healthy Pupils Unit, Department for Education

Richard Sangster

Head, Obesity Policy, Department of Health and Social Care


Baroness Jenkin of Kennington

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity and Member, House of Lords Intergenerational Fairness and Provision Select Committee

Eleanor Smith MP


Siobhan O’Mahony

Nutritionist and School Food Advisor, Health and Wellbeing Service, Leeds City Council

Cathy Capelin

Strategic Insight Director, Nutrition, Kantar Worldpanel

Dr Jonathan James

Associate Professor in Health Economics, University of Bath

Timothy Baker

Headteacher, Charlton Manor Primary School, London

Professor Corinna Hawkes

Director, Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London

Sue Eustace

Director of Public Affairs, Advertising Association

Shahriar Coupal

Director, Committees of Advertising Practice