Public Health England publishes sugar reduction guidelines

Posted on: 4th April 2017

As part of its sugar reduction programme, Public Health England (PHE) has published new guidelines for the food industry, demonstrating how they can remove 20% of the sugar in nine categories of food which contribute the most to children’s intakes.

The guidelines support delivery of the goals set out in Childhood Obesity: A Plan for Acton, published last year. It is the first technical report of the programme, and sets the guidelines for the whole of the food industry, including manufacturers, retailers, coffee shops, family pubs, restaurants, takeaways etc. on how they can reduce the amount of sugar our children consume from some key everyday foods. These foods are not just consumed by children, so the programme will benefit the whole family.

They are based on over six months of engagement with the food industry, with public health campaigners and with health charities, with PHE now able to understand what industry needs to do to achieve the Government’s target of a 20% reduction by 2020, with 5% in the first year ending August 2017.

Nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese, and younger generations are becoming obese at earlier ages and staying obese for longer. Reducing obesity levels will save lives as obesity doubles the risk of dying prematurely. Obese adults are seven times more likely to become a Type 2 diabetic than adults of a healthy weight and are also at risk of developing fatty liver disease which can lead to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

British Liver Trust CEO, Andrew Langford said:

“Liver disease is the only major cause of death that is rising at an alarming rate and one of the major reasons for this is the increase in obesity. The food industry needs to play a major part by reducing the sugar in the common foods that we all eat and reduce portion sizes.

“The guidelines issued by Public Health England are achievable and the Government now needs to monitor progress.  If companies don’t quickly make changes to address this, then they should introduce tougher legislative measures.”