Royal College of Physicians responds to Unicef’s State of the World report

Professor Rachel Batterham, RCP special adviser on obesity and chair of our advisory group on nutrition, weight and health, responds to Unicef's report, The State of the World’s Children 2019: Children, food and nutrition.

Earlier this week Unicef published The State of the World’s Children 2019: Children, food and nutrition.

In response, Professor Rachel Batterham, RCP special adviser on obesity and chair of our advisory group on nutrition, weight and health, said:

“Unicef’s report provides yet more compelling evidence that where you live has a strong influence on your health.

“We know that our children’s environment strongly determines what they eat, their weight and ultimately their health. This new report highlights that children from the UK’s poorest areas are disproportionately exposed to takeaways selling fried chicken, burgers and pizza with five times as many fast-food outlets as wealthier areas.

“It’s therefore no surprise that children from these most deprived areas have double the rates of overweight and obesity. We are effectively abandoning the most deprived children in the UK to a deluge of unhealthy fast food, setting many of them up for a lifetime of poor health.

“This report follows hot on the heels of Dame Sally Davies’ final report as Chief Medical Officer for England. How much more evidence does the government need to take swift action to reduce this marked social inequality in exposing children to unhealthy food, which if left unchecked will further increase the health gap between the richest and poorest regions of the UK?

“The health and social care committee’s review of government progress on tackling childhood obesity cannot come soon enough. We hope to see the recommendations of the Obesity Health Alliance taken on board, as well as the RCP’s call for obesity to be recognised as a disease.”

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Obesity