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Jamie Oliver 'let down' by government obesity plan

TV chef Jamie Oliver has hit out at the government, labelling its obesity strategy as "a complete cop-out".

Writing in the Guardian, Oliver said the government has "no clue about how to make sustainable change or how to inspire, enforce or empower public health".

In a no-holds barred attack, he deemed the strategy "worthless, regurgitated, patronising rubbish".

Yesterday (13 October) Health Secretary Andrew Lansley unveiled the government's bid to slash five billion calories from England's diet - the equivalent of 16.9 million cheeseburgers.

Eating and drinking too many calories is at the heart of the obesity problem, it is claimed.

But by simply telling people "what they already know", argues Oliver, the government is guilty of engaging in a "complete cop out".

Backing the plan, Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, called for people "to be more honest with themselves" about their eating and drinking habits.

"We have to halt and then reverse the tide of obesity in this country," said Lansley.

"Government has a role to play, but it is clear that we cannot do this alone. We need to work in a broad partnership with local authorities, businesses, charities, health professionals and individuals.

"Reducing the number of calories we consume is essential. It can happen if we continue action to reduce calories in everyday foods and drinks, and if all of us who are overweight take simple steps to reduce our calorie intake."


Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Dame Sally Davies is clearly right about this. And let's cure alcoholism and nicotine addiction by telling people not to drink and smoke. Easy peasy. Well done Sally!" - Barksworth, Yarmouth

"Just what you would expect from a gutless bunch of morons who think we are as stupid as them. There needs to be some determination on how to deal with it via positive action, eg, taking junk food, refusing to treat obese patients with related complaints and compell suppliers and producers of foods to clearly advertise their products as "fattening". It's another
dose of being PC" - C Colson, Ashford

"I agree with Jamie. This government does not.. and will not.. listen to people,they consider,inferior to them. Jamie should take the place of DAME SALLY DAVIES. I bet she can afford fillet steak and has never had to cook for a family of four on a tight budget. Now, more than ever, good food has become a luxury. I wonder if Dame Sally has ever had minced meat pie
instead of her usual pheasant or grouse, I think not!!" - Name and address supplied

"Mr Oliver's comments on the obesity strategy are completely appropriate but, unfortunately, as a celebrity chef who includes vast, harmful, and totally unnecessary quantities of salt in his recipes, he has little credibility on the health promotion front himself. Obesity, and indeed all significant overweight, is a massive and ballooning problem in all American-satellite cultures, and is really not being tackled seriously in any of them. Some other countries with perfectly comfortable lifestyles, and enviable food, do not suffer this to anywhere near the same extent. The implication is that there are common and powerful cultural factors. Whilst aware of the time always taken by such a process, this is such a
huge, costly, and deadly matter that I would suggest the UK should invest in a top-level public enquiry into the issue, and how to tackle it. As a woman who has struggled with my weight all my life, and, at 60 at last seem to have the issue just about under control, I look back on my many past failures with huge regret. I also feel anger towards the totally
incompetent supposedly-professional advice I received. And I regard with horror the increasing social pressures (only some of which are commercial) that I have now learned to ignore, and which others clearly cannot, or have not yet realised they must - something being made more difficult by the escalating social anxieties of the recession. Existing and previous policies have been tossed around by myopic and self-regarding interest groups, not least sports addicts, anti-business activists (and food industry lobbyists), half-educated endocrinologists,
and fad-diet-addicts. We need an independent and broad appraisal of the issue entirely aimed at restoring every possible person to a healthy weight by whatever means works for them, and with guidance from an early age to assist every individual to find that method as early as possible" - Jenny, Manchester

"A lily-livered sop to the big businesses who make vast amounts of money from selling unhealthy food to kids" - Allan, Slovakia

"Truth is, the government are too afraid of taking on the lawyers of the big boys. Same as supermarket cheap drinks" - Iain Macdonald, Blantyre