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​Stuck at the traffic lights: BDA joins voices for action on Childhood Obesity Plan to safeguard oral health


15 July 2020


Scorecard 2020 - The Road to Preventing Obesity.jpgThe BDA has signed a letter to the Prime Minister, led by Action on Sugar, Action on Salt, alongside other health charities and stakeholders, urging action on all the outstanding recommendations previously committed to in Chapters 1, 2 and 3 of the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan.


We are campaigning for action on elements in the Childhood Obesity Plan that relate to improving oral health, including extending the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (the ‘sugar tax’) to milk-based drinks that are often very high in sugar, delivering on restrictions on the marketing and advertising of junk food, improved front-of-pack nutrition labelling, implementing the agreed ban on the sale of energy drinks to children, and reducing sugar in the nine PHE target food categories, plus infants food and drinks.

Data reveals that 170 children and teenagers in England are undergoing tooth extractions under general anaesthesia in hospitals in England every day. The role of junk food in increasing dental decay, as well as the obesity factor, is now being recognised thanks to our persistent messaging.


Action on Sugar and Action on Salt’s traffic light Scorecard 2020: The road to preventing obesity, analyses the Government’s commitments against the progress of the three chapters, finding that many of the core recommendations aimed at improving the lives of both children and adults living with obesity - such as calorie reduction targets and clearer nutrition labels on food and drink products - have disappointingly been sidelined and are stuck at the traffic lights.


For the Prime Minister’s new obesity plan to be effective and change the health trajectory of future generations, a robust and joined-up policy package is required, including the vital 9pm watershed to limit advertising and marketing of less healthy food across all media platforms, allowing families to see more of the products that are good for their general health, as well as their oral health.

We believe that the need for prevention is more important than ever in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a huge backlog for dental patient treatment, and reduced treatment capacity.


BDA Chair, Mick Armstrong said:


“Tooth decay remains the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children, which is truly a shocking state of affairs in 2020.


“The Government is paying lip service to improving children's health - by failing to include a policy that stops junk food adverts being shown on TV and online before the 9pm watershed, it is missing a crucial opportunity.


“If the Government is really serious about tackling obesity and dental decay, then this, and other important recommendations - which were previously agreed - cannot be left out. We will continue to campaign to ensure our children’s oral health, as well as their general health, is safeguarded.”