Snacking should be banned on local public transport. That’s the recommendation from England’s outgoing Chief Medical Officer that has caught the media headlines. However, this is just one of a number of measures she has proposed. These include:

  • Phasing out all marketing, advertising and sponsorship of unhealthy food and drink
  • Adding VAT to unhealthy food products that are currently zero-rated, such as cakes
  • Extending the sugar tax to include milk-based drinks
  • Capping calories in food served out-of-the home to combat rising portion sizes
  • Free water refills to be available at all food outlets, transport stations and public sector buildings
  • Changing planning rules to make it harder to open fast-food takeaways
  • Regular car-free weekends across the country to encourage physical activity
  • Consider plain packaging for junk food, if firms fail to reduce sugar, fat and salt in their products quickly enough
  • All nurseries, registered childminders and schools to adopt water and milk-only policies 

Dame Sally Davies has recognised the seriousness of the obesity problem. We hope the government will give serious consideration to her proposals.