In an effort to combat the growing obesity crisis, food outlets will get tax cuts for adding and offering salads on their menus. Outlets will receive discounts on their business rates, providing they offer healthy options. The proposals will also see councils banning planning permission for new outlets which only serve “junk food”, and prioritising applications by those which offer meals low in fat and sugar.
Alarming statistics reveal that one in five children are obese or overweight by the time they start primary school, rising to one in three by the time they leave.
The schemes will also see cut-price advertising for retailers offering healthy food and drink, improvements in nursery school foods and mosques asked to introduce lessons for children in exercise and nutrition. Public health minister Seema Kennedy backed five council-led programmes to tackle childhood obesity, which will be rolled out nationally, if they succeed.
Blackburn with Darwen council are among the five councils which will offer cafes and restaurants a discount on their business rates if their menus include healthy options. The council will also offer free waste removal and subsidised advertising to companies which meet their standards. In Lewisham, in London, unsold advertising space will be used for health promotion advertisements. And in Bradford, councils will work with local mosques to provide exercise classes, healthier food and lessons in nutrition to South Asian children, who are at greater risk of obesity.
Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “While obesity has no quick fix, these trailblazers are forging innovative solutions that clearly prioritise children and their long-term health.”