Welsh government looks to tackle childhood obesity
Welsh government is inviting companies and research organisations to apply for a share of up to £1 million funding to develop solutions to make the food and drink available to children healthier, while reducing the cost.
By the age of 11, more than 40% of Welsh children are either obese or overweight. Research shows that the vast majority of obese children tend to grow up to become obese adults. Obesity has a significant impact on the economy. In 2011, obesity alone was estimated to cost the NHS in Wales £73 million, with between £1.4 million and £1.65 million spent each week treating diseases resulting from obesity.
Launched at Wales’ first major food event, Blas Cymru/Taste Wales, companies are being invited to submit solutions which focus on reducing levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat as well as increasing the levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre provided in food and drink for children.
Cabinet secretary for environment and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths says, “This programme is a call to our food innovators in Wales to help us improve the health of our children by providing good quality and nourishing food, whilst keeping costs down.
“The Welsh food and drink industry can be proud of its record in innovation, in launching new products and driving up standards, and I’m now appealing to you to use your skills, talents and creativity to tackle one of the greatest challenges of all – improving the diets of our children today, to enable them to become the healthy young adults of tomorrow.”
Those who submit ideas for funding will come up with innovative solutions such as new processing technologies, reformulation techniques, enabling technologies, new engineering designs and flexible manufacturing processes in order to drive down costs.
The funding is provided through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), from the Welsh government and Innovative UK.