Public Health Responsibility Deal ‘no silver bullet’

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Responsibility deal, Health, Health care, Nutrition

If nudging people towards healthier lifestyles fails, it should be replaced by legislaton, warns a cross-party group of MPs
If nudging people towards healthier lifestyles fails, it should be replaced by legislaton, warns a cross-party group of MPs
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has welcomed comments from the Health Select Committee about the government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal describing the plan as “no silver bullet” to tackle obesity.

FDF director of Communications Terry Jones said: “We have read the committee’s comments on the Responsibility Deal with interest. We note that they appear to be based largely on its comments on the alcohol debate.

“In relation to tackling obesity, as the committee’s report makes clear, the Public Health Responsibility Deal can only be one element of a complex matrix of actions by a range of actors. It is not a ‘silver bullet’.

Public health

"Business does not ‘set the agenda’ through the Responsibility Deal. But the deal provides an important platform for debate and action across a range of stakeholders, within which industry can build on its record of achievement in key areas such as product reformulation and labelling to make a real contribution to improving public health."

The select committee report, published today November 2, criticised the Responsibility Deal which relies on voluntary agreements with the industry and persuading or “nudging” consumers to adopt healthier eating and drinking patterns.

The government must use legislation if efforts to “nudge”​ people fail, warned the cross-party group of MPs.

Failure

Diane Abbott, shadow public health minister, said: “The committee is right to flag up its likely failure. It's been completely ineffective. They haven't made any real progress in government action to tackle obesity and alcohol misuse.”

This latest criticism follows concerns voiced by the British Medical Association, campaigners, and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Last month, Oliver slammed the government’s plans to tackle obesity as “worthless, regurgitated, patronising rubbish.”

Related news

Show more