Food science and nutrition groups back obesity webinar

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Don't miss your free place at our independent obesity webinar on Thursday July 3 at 1100 GMT
Don't miss your free place at our independent obesity webinar on Thursday July 3 at 1100 GMT

Related tags Nutrition Obesity

Three leading food science, technology and nutrition groups have joined forces to back Food Manufacture’s free, independent, one-hour obesity webinar to be staged on Thursday July 3 at 1100 GMT, in a bid to move the debate about obesity onto a firmer scientific footing.

The three groups are: the Institute of Food Science & Technology (IFST), the British Dietetic Association (BDA) and the Nutrition Society. Each are backing the online seminar​ to place science centre stage in the debate about the roots and remedies to Britain’s obesity crisis, a week after the key report from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).

Jon Poole, IFST chief executive, told “The current ‘noise’ around the causes of obesity and in particular links with specific food groups is becoming so loud and confusing that its worth stepping back to re-evaluate the true science behind this hugely important issue.

‘Unhelpful rhetoric’

“Given the well-balanced make-up of the panel for this web-based seminar, I sincerely hope that we can cut through some of the unhelpful rhetoric and, instead, focus for just one hour on the scientific evidence. My expectation is that anyone involved in making decisions about diet and health – whether in government or in the food processing sector – can once and for all gain some clarity from this seminar.”

Poole added: “We ultimately need to think about how we can re-gain the confidence of consumers through clear and consistent messaging so that they can make sensible dietary and lifestyle choices – but perhaps that’s for a further debate.”

Andy Burman, chief executive BDA, told this website the greatest public health challenge facing Britain was how to tackle the growing problem of poor nutrition.

‘Obesity costs an estimated £5bn per year’

“Obesity costs an estimated £5bn per year, in England alone, and there is no simple answer as to how to tackle it,”​ said Burman. “However, the debate is an important one and it is important that the evidence base informs the strategy. We need to be guided by current thinking and work collectively.

“The BDA hopes the debate will inform, educate, enlighten and engage with anyone interested in the challenges. Whether you are a healthcare professional, involved in manufacturing or just curious to hear what the experts have to say, this webinar is for you.”

Last week the long-awaited SACN report​ on carbohydrates, including sugars, recommended that about 5% of people’s daily energy should could from free sugars (refined carbohydrates). It also recommended that daily fibre intake should be increased to 30g/day for adults and consumption of starchy foods and whole grains maintained at 50% of daily energy intake.

Meanwhile there is still time to book your free place at the webinar –  Obesity and health, the big fat, sugar and salt debate​. There is no limit on the number of registrations and, once registered, you can listen to the broadcast at any time during or after its broadcast on Thursday.

Taking part will be representatives from the National Institute for Health Research, the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Leeds University and the Food and Drink Federation. See full list below.


Webinar Speakers

• Professor Alan Jackson, director National Institute for Health Research, Southampton Biomedical Research Centre

• Graham MacGregor, professor of cardiovascular medicine at and chairman of Consensus Action on Salt & Health and Action on Sugar

• Dr Charlotte Evans, lecturer in nutritional epidemiology and public health nutrition at Leeds University

• Barbara Gallani, director of the FDF’s Regulatory, science and health division

Meanwhile, there will be a live question and answer session at the end of the debate. To register your question in advance, email

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