This seminar was held at a key time for decisions on the future direction of policy - including the Childhood obesity plan for action and consultation on advertising restrictions on products high in fat, sugar and salt - it brought policymakers together with stakeholders involved in public health and the food and drink industry to discuss the future direction for policy and the implications of reform.
Delegates considered 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.
Discussion covered practicality 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.
Following the consultation on advertising restrictions on products high in fat, sugar and salt, delegates considered 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.
Discussion brought out latest thinking on making healthier choices easier, drawing on research findings, latest innovative approaches and insights on consumer habits and attitudes.
The agenda examined 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.
Discussion looked at investment of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy revenue so far, 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 seminar was 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 examined 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, as well as how the public and private sectors 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 included 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.
The seminar was 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 also considered 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.