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European Obesity Day – BANT Continues to Campaign to Prevent Childhood Obesity

BANT (British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine) is saddened that the obesity epidemic has grown to such proportions that today (18th May), has been designated as the European Obesity Day. The organisation and its 2,500 nutrition practitioner members have continually called for the UK’s healthy eating strategy to be modified so that it reflects today’s scientific evidence and not the objectives of business and politics.

Since its inception in 1997, BANT has repeatedly called for a change in the UK’s national obesity strategy, including participating in the Commons Health Select Committee’s Childhood Obesity Inquiry.  British children are suffering the brunt of this health crisis and things cannot continue in the same way.

Our children are growing up bombarded with advertisements promoting poor food choices. Home economics classes, once a permanent feature on a school time table, have disappeared. Many British children, often from the most vulnerable backgrounds, are growing up unable to recognise different fruit and vegetables, fundamental for good health. Whilst the core curriculum does include diet and lifestyle teaching, this is based on the inherently flawed Eatwell Guide and major food brands often provide the education materials to support these modules. BANT continues its clarion call for Government Agencies to promote the consumption of healthy ingredients and unprocessed foods, disassociating commercial interests. Earlier this month BANT lent its support to Jamie Oliver’s Childhood Obesity Manifesto and applauds all of the work he is currently undertaking.

The causes of obesity are multifactorial and can include increased stress levels, systemic low-grade inflammation, lack of exercise, and choice of foods and their preparation/cooking methods, amongst others.  There is growing evidence that minimally processed foods like non-starchy vegetables and fruit are more satiating and elicit less of a glycaemic response than ultra-processed foods, so prevalent in typical British diets. Additionally, minimally processed foods are associated with a decreased risk of cardio-metabolic disease.

BANT continues to promote its Wellbeing Guidelines campaign to encourage the British people to eat more individual ingredients and unprocessed food. Going back to some old-fashioned values, such a family meal times and improving the nations cooking skills to use fresh ingredients, will go a long way to help the obesity targets and health of the individuals.

BANT experts carefully developed a set of Wellbeing Guidelines, based on the latest science and research in the field of nutrition for optimal health. The BANT Wellbeing Guidelines were specifically designed to provide clear, concise, easy to understand information, avoiding outdated information and research, and addressing some of the most common health concerns.  The most frequent reasons people seek nutritional advice is for weight management and/ or for general health and wellbeing. These issues are addressed by BANT with the following:

BANT Registered Nutrition Practitioners are regulated by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC) that holds an Accredited Voluntary Register (AVR) for the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (PSA). A recent report by the Royal Society for Public Health and the Professional Standards Agency made a key recommendation that AVR practitioners have the authority to make direct NHS referrals, in appropriate cases, to ease the administrative burden on GP surgeries.

As members of the CNHC Accredited Register, BANT Registered Nutrition Practitioners and other CNHC registrants, are the key workforce asset to harness 21st century lifestyle medicine to tackle the rising tide of stress related fatigue, obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, dementia and other chronic diseases.

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