Cast Your Vote - Who’s responsible for children’s weight?

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A government plan to tackle obesity amongst children has been labelled as an “insulting response” by health campaigners.

Seven per cent of children in Northern Ireland aged between two and 16 are obese according to a 2016 House of Commons Briefing Paper on Obesity Statistics.

The figures relate to data collected in 2014/15 and the paper also reveals that 21 per cent of children in Northern Ireland are overweight with girls more likely to be obese than boys.

The Tory government in Westminster published their strategy to tackle childhood obesity on Thursday morning.

Health experts and campaigners have said the government have missed the opportunity to try and tackle what many describe as a childhood obesity epidemic.

The government’s measures rely heavily on voluntary actions from the food and drink industry and do not imply any restrictions on the advertising or marketing of junk food.

“After the farce of the responsibility deal where Andrew Lansley made the food industry responsible for policing themselves, it is sad to see that this is just another imitation of the same responsibility deal take two,” said Prof Graham MacGregor, chairman of Action on Sugar and Consensus Action on Salt and Health.

“It is an insulting response to the UK crisis in type-2 diabetes, both in children and adults. This will bankrupt the NHS unless something radical is done,” he added.

Health Minister, Michelle O’Neill MLA was urged in May to use and estimated £18m introduce a ‘sugar tax’ here but it remains to be seen if it will happen.