Barrow-in-Furness MP John Woodcock has written to Environment Secretary Michael Gove calling on him ‘to include in the forthcoming child obesity strategy a measure to subsidise fresh fruit and vegetables in corner shops and convenience stores.’
The move comes as recent figures from the National Child Measurement Programme revealed that hundreds of children in his constituency were not getting a healthy start in life, with around a third of four- and five-year olds in the region being classed as overweight.
In his letter, Mr Woodcock says, ““Deeply shocking statistics show that 30 percent of four and five-year-olds in Barrow are overweight. As you know, children who do not get a healthy start in life are more likely to struggle at school and suffer health problems throughout their lives. Reducing child obesity is essential if we are to reduce the blight of inequality and poor life choices in Britain.”
His letter was backed by Action for Children, which runs seven Sure Start Children’s Centres throughout the area, but the charity also warned other action was also required. Michelle Doherty, service manager for the Furness Sure Start Children’s Centres, said, “Subsidising fresh fruit and vegetables would be a positive move. We would support the call for that. But subsidising those foods would not solve the issue. It has to be coupled with helping to show families how to prepare a decent healthy meal and how they can make that appeal to children.”
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