Labour wants to conscript Tony the Tiger to encourage Brits to eat more fruit and vegetables as the nation grapples with the obesity epidemic. 

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said more must be done to combat ‘highly manipulative’ marketing tactics used to flog junk food to Brits, especially children.

He joked: ‘We should second Tony the Tiger off Frosties and on to buy-one-get-one-free deals for fruit and veg.’

Mr Streeting vowed that a Labour Government would ‘steamroll’ the food industry and ban the online and TV advertisement of junk food to children. 

He added that Labour might go further, adding there was a ‘serious case to be made’ for stricter restrictions on food packaging.  

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting vowed that a Labour Government would 'steamroll' the food industry and ban the online and TV advertisement of junk food to children

Tony the Tiger has been the face of Kellogg's Frosties since the 50s

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting (left) said more must be done to combat ‘highly manipulative’ marketing tactics used to flog junk food to Brits joking the nation should ‘second’ Frosties Tony the Tiger (right) to promote buy-one-get-one-free deals for fruit and veg

Mr Streeting said he would build a coalition of food industry leaders to tackle obesity and issued a warning to those wanting to prioritise profits at the expense of the nation’s health.  

‘You either get on board the steamroller or you’re going under it,’ he said. 

‘We’re going to work with leaders in the industry to drag the rest of us along with them.’

He told The Times Health Summit: ‘Why don’t we take the principle that’s been used to flog junk food, and instead apply it to healthy options for children and young people?’

Speaking at the same event, the Health Secretary Victoria Atkins cautioned against ‘fingerwagging’ the public about their health. 

HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BODY MASS INDEX – AND WHAT IT MEANS

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height. 

Standard Formula:

  • BMI = (weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703

Metric Formula:

  • BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))

Measurements:

  • Under 18.5: Underweight
  • 18.5 – 24.9: Healthy
  • 25 – 29.9: Overweight
  • 30 – 39.9: Obese 
  • 40+: Morbidly obese 

Obesity and being overweight has been an expanding problem in Britain for years.

The latest data for England shows almost two thirds of adults are too fat, compared to just half in the mid-90s. 

Almost one in 10 children are obese by the time they start primary school. 

Being too fat is linked to a string of health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, serious cardiovascular problems like heart disease and stroke as well as increasing the risk of several types of cancer. 

Official estimates put the annual death toll from obesity in the UK at over 30,000. It also costs the and wider society billions each year.

One of the most commonly cited reasons for nation’s expanding waistlines is junk food and ready meal consumption.

These meals are typically packed with fat, salt and sugar that, while both convenient and tantalizing the tastebuds, have long term health consequences if eaten too frequently. 

Junk food advertising bans and restrictions, like those suggested by Mr Streeting, have been considered before.

Back in 2015 then shadow health secretary, and now Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham proposed limits on the amount of fat, sugar and salt in foods marketed to children.

The Conservatives have their own plan to restrict junk food advertising.

Revealed by ex-PM Boris Johnson, the measure would have seen online ads for junk food banned entirely and a 9pm watershed for TV junk food ads from 2023.

But the policy was pushed back to 2025 by current PM Rishi Sunak.

Mr Sunak said he wanted to give industry more time to prepare for the change, as a reason for the delay. 

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