New report states GPs should prescribe fruit and vegetables to encourage healthy eating

·1-min read

GPs should prescribe fruit and vegetables to encourage healthy eating, according to a new report.

England's National Food Strategy has recommended a tax on wholesale salt and sugar to encourage manufacturers to use less, and raise funds for improving diets across the country.

The independent review, commissioned by the U.K. government in 2019, states that income from the tax should be used for a trial of the "Community Eatwell" scheme where doctors prescribe fruit and vegetables to poorer people with sub-standard diets.

Income from the levy would also be used to extend the free school meals programme to more families from low-income backgrounds.

The report, led by businessman Henry Dimbleby, said poor diet contributes to 64,000 deaths a year in England and costs the economy $102.7 billion (£74 billion).

Mr Dimbleby told BBC Radio 4's Today programme his proposals could save 38 calories per person per day, helping the average person lose 2kg (4.4lb) in weight a year.

"Our high obesity rate has been a major factor in the UK's tragically high death rate," said Dimbleby.

The review recommends the new tax be set at £3/kg ($4.16) for sugar and £6/kg ($8.32) for salt sold wholesale for use in processed foods, or in restaurants and catering businesses.

The tax could raise as much as $4.7 billion (£3.4 billion) a year, the review team calculates.

However, the previous sugar levy on soft drinks brought in less tax revenue than expected as voluntary measures from manufacturers reduced sugar content to avoid the extra charge.

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