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Faculty of Public Health response to plans to cut five billion calories from nation’s daily diet

The Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced on Saturday that “the country’s biggest supermarkets, food manufacturers, caterers and food outlets are joining forces to help cut five billion calories from the nation’s daily diet”.

Responding to this announcement, Professor Lindsey Davies, President of the Faculty of Public Health, said: Cutting calories from food will make a difference in our efforts to tackle the obesity crisis. This announcement is the result of a concerted effort over a long period of time by various organisations - and more companies need to sign up to this pledge if it is to deliver the benefits that are urgently needed.

“This pledge is one part of a long-term approach that is needed to improve our health and reduce our waistlines. Consumers also need a consistent, trusted system that clearly shows them what’s in the food they’re buying. Most shoppers spend just four to ten seconds choosing the products they buy in supermarkets and shops.

“Traffic light labelling (red, amber, green signals) enables quick comparisons between products and is particularly useful on ready meals, cereals and processed meat that often contain unexpectedly high levels of concealed fat, sugars and salt. We want all food labels to use this system so that customers can make informed choices about the food they buy.

“This is hugely important as the average intakes of fat, sugars and salt in the UK exceed recommended amounts: two thirds of adults and a third of children are either overweight or obese.”

Written: 27/03/2012 , last modified: 19/07/2012