Obesity forum: ‘No plans’ to replace board members

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Obesity forum not planning to replace board members

Related tags Nutrition

The National Obesity Forum (NOF) has no plans to replace the four members who resigned last week – after a controversial pro-fat report was released by mistake – according to the organisation.

The report claimed people should eat more fatty foods, reduce carbohydrate intake and stop counting calories.

Board members Deborah Cook, Jen Nash, Matt Capehorn and Sangeeta Agnihorti resigned after it was found the report had been released without the board’s consent.

NOF spokesman Tam Fry told FoodManufacture.co.uk there were no plans to replace them, but added the forum would accept their reinstatement if they wished to return.   

Speaking to FoodManufacture.co.uk, Fry said that the release of the report was a “dreadful mistake”.

‘Dreadful mistake

“The way that the document came out was clearly not satisfactory,” ​said Fry. “Whether they ​[the former board members] come back or not, I don’t know, but that will be their decision and it’s not one that will be taken in a rush.”

The report – titled Eat fat, cut carbs and avoid snacking to reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes​ – was intended to be a discussion document and not a guideline for public health, claimed Fry.

Since the report was not submitted to the NOF board for approval “it couldn’t be an NOF document and was therefore wrong to have the NOF logo attached to it”.

While Fry admitted that the report did upset a lot of people, including members of the NOF board, it was never meant to be a statement on how the public should go about changing their diets, he insisted.

“The tenor of the document was to call into question the dietary advice which has been out there for the last 30 to 40 years, which was fatty products will make you fat,”​ said Fry.

‘Advice was allegedly flawed’

“That advice was allegedly flawed even at the time it was made in 1977 and this was an opinion that it was high time the dietary advice was reviewed.

“Even if a lot of the people both inside and outside the forum agree with sections of it, there are sections of it they didn’t agree with and that’s the whole point about a discussion document.”

Fry did not believe that the release of the report would damage the NOF. “It was an error, but it wasn’t such a grave error as to bring down or to put in jeopardy the forum itself,” ​Fry said.

Meanwhile, the NOF was established as a charity in 2000 to raise awareness of obesity and identify remedies to the problem.

NOF advice to eat more fat was slammed as “irresponsible”​ by Public Health England’s chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone.


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