Children's health and food

New campaign calls on investors to help tackle child obesity

15 May 2019
3 min read
Aisling Sheehy
Aisling Sheehy
Digital Communications Officer

In partnership with responsible investment charity ShareAction, we are launching the ‘Healthy Markets’ campaign. We want to harness the power of the investment system to create and support healthier food options for consumers.

The campaign will bring investors together with major food and drinks companies operating in the UK market. The campaign will push for:

  • Healthier, affordable products
  • Limited marketing of sugary products to children
  • Clear and accurate food labelling


Childhood obesity rates reflect inequality

Currently, one in five children starting primary school in the UK is overweight or obese. This rises to one in three by the time they reach secondary school. 

And rates are often higher in areas with high levels of deprivation. We know that 5-year-olds from the poorest income groups are twice as likely to be obese compared to their affluent counterparts.

Overweight children are also more likely to become overweight or obese adults. This can increase their risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Childhood obesity is a complex, societal issue, which means we all have a part to play in addressing it. In the lower-income, urban areas where we work, it can often be difficult to find food that is affordable, tasty and healthy. We’re excited to explore with ShareAction how encouraging responsible investment can help improve the availability of healthier options for everyone.

Keiron Boyle
Kieron Boyle Chief Executive

Partnering to improve access to healthy, nutritious food

In partnership with the Access to Nutrition Initiative (ATNI), ‘Healthy Markets’ will work with major retailers and manufacturers in the UK market to analyse how healthy their products are and how transparent this is to consumers. 

The campaign will then develop a set of individualised company demands for action that contributes to reducing levels of childhood obesity in the UK.

‘Healthy Markets’ is the first campaign of its kind in the UK to be spearheaded by a health foundation and has a growing group of advisory partners including The Jamie Oliver Group, The Children’s Food Campaign, The Sugar Smart Campaign, Action on Sugar, The Food Foundation and  Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

We’re proud to be working on this socially-important new project. We want to support investors to make a positive impact on the lives of young people. With the sugar tax a reality and many consumers making healthier choices, there’s a compelling case for companies to support people in making healthy choices.

Catherine Howarth Chief Executive of ShareAction