HEART attack survivor Sally Bee has called on Prime Minister Teresa May to tackle childhood obesity as a matter of urgency.
The Stratford chef and mum of three has written to Downing Street urging Mrs May to take immediate action after it was proved 80 per cent of heart disease could be prevented by changes in diet from a young age.
Childhood obesity in Britain is at its highest rate ever and the problem is still growing. Dealing with obesity costs the NHS £11billion each year, and the Government recently released its much awaited ‘Childhood Obesity – A Plan for Action’ document, but Sally was far from impressed.
Sally – who has received heavyweight celebrity backing from fellow chefs Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc – wrote in her letter to Mrs May: “I have read your plan for action and am horrified at the lack of commitment and urgency. It is clear that this is not at the top of your pile. It should be.
“We are killing our kids – their lives are in our hands! What are you waiting for?
“By not fully engaging in the battle against childhood obesity, it seems that you are accepting that our children today will be the unwell future tomorrow.”
Sally’s own heart attacks – three in the space of a week a decade ago – were not the result of poor diet but a generic condition, and she now lives with a chronic heart problem.
She now campaigns tirelessly to raise awareness of heart disease which claims the life of over 400 people in Britain every day – but which she argues could be reduced by introducing a mandatory traffic light food labeling system.
Sally added: “Children are eating their body weight in sugar over the course of a year. The British public are sleepwalking into their own personal health crisis and don’t understand why. Much of this is due to lack of information on food labels. Therefore the traffic light labeling system must be mandatory on all food items, not voluntary.
“The people I talk to, believe they are making healthy choices but the labels on their pre-packed foods are dishonest and misleading and mean that many of their so called ‘healthy’ choices are actually causing health problems.
“Yes they are in control of what they put in their mouths and there is a long way to go in educating people at ground level, I do everything I can to support this, but the problem is massively exacerbated by the lack of truthful and clear information on packaged food.”
Sally has previously launched a project – Project Lifeskills – to encourage secondary school pupils to learn how to prepare healthy meals, and worked with staff at Stratford School to design and plan a new kitchen to help some do just that.