We focus on four complex health issues more prevalent in urban areas
With the Social Progress Imperative, we've developed the first neighbourhood level, health-focused social progress index of its kind.
With Wellcome Trust
We want to hear from you.
Children's health and food
An assessment of the nutritional quality of approximately 50% of packaged foods and beverages sold in the UK in 2016 and their suitability to be marketed to children
The UK is facing a health crisis driven in large part by the nation’s poor diet. Those that eat poor diets – high in fat, salt and sugar and/or low in fruit, vegetables and wholegrains – are at risk of developing a wide range of serious illnesses as well as dying early. This is why concerted effort is urgently needed to transform the country’s food system so that everyone, including those on low incomes, is able to eat a healthy diet.
Poor diets accounted for 17% of all deaths in the UK in 2017. They also accounted for a huge proportion of ill health. Cutting the high and climbing levels of overweight and obesity in the UK is a public health priority, given that the UK already has the highest level of adult obesity in Europe. 61% of adults were overweight or obese in England in 2016; these figures are slightly higher in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
However, up to 40% of those with a normal body-mass index (BMI) have metabolic abnormalities typically associated with obesity, illustrating the importance of improving diets for everyone. Childhood obesity is also accorded a high priority because it is a ticking time-bomb: children who are obese are five times more likely to be obese adults. Currently, a third of children and young people in the UK are estimated to be overweight or obese and these levels are predicted to increase. The related annual costs by 2050 are expected to be £9.7 billion for the NHS and nearly £50 billion for society as a whole. The economic case for action therefore seems to be irrefutable.
Food companies can and must play an active part by improving the nutritional quality of the products they sell and by putting much greater emphasis on increasing the consumption of healthy foods and beverages. In fact, those that do not are at risk losing out to competitors that respond more positively and quickly to the emerging consumer trend of healthy eating.
We recommend that food and beverage manufacturers:
We recommend that institutional investors:
We recommend that UK policymakers:
Working with Sustain, we will propose healthy, sustainable alternatives to existing local and national policy to protect children's health.
For food programmes to have a meaningful impact on health inequities, they need a persistent eye on two things: access and quality.
How we're working to bring the rates of childhood obesity down in neighbourhoods with the lowest incomes to the level of those in more affluent areas.
Sharing what we’ve learnt from our local pilot in Southwark where we introduced small changes to nudge consumers towards healthier options.