14 Dec 2021

The BDA has published its detailed response to part two of the National Food Strategy (NFS): ‘The Plan’ following its release in July 2021.

The response is a culmination of more than three months of BDA-wide engagement and reflects the knowledge and expertise of our specialist groups (This included our Public Health, Obesity, Paediatric, Sustainable Diets, Food Services and Optimising Nutrition Prescribing groups).

A time-limited working group comprising of member volunteers from across specialist groups has supported our final recommendations and calls to action. The response also endorses a number of the submissions made to date through our formal alliances and partnerships (such as the Obesity Health Alliance).

BDA Chair, Caroline Bovey said: “Firstly, I would like to thank colleagues across the membership and staff group who have helped to shape and direct this detailed response. Earlier in the year we welcomed the National Food Strategy and the plan it forwarded to address our relationship with the UK food system. We rely on the expertise and knowledge of our members to challenge and drive forward the NFS as it lays the ground for next year’s anticipated food white paper. We want to work closely with colleagues from across Government and civil society to ensure a progressive, dynamic approach to improving the nation’s health and environmental sustainability.

“The BDA expects to see greater involvement of UK dietitians in the implementation of the strategy at a national level and the application of dietetic evidence-based practice and behaviour change approaches to properly address the diverse needs of the population. The plan is a very real opportunity to ensure inclusion, extend innovation and implement a whole systems approach.

“In the current climate there must be better recognition that healthy foods need to be accessible to those families on low incomes in order to reduce health inequalities. Addressing the lack of food in a family is a political decision but one that is still not yet sufficiently prioritised. The BDA supports the recommendation to extend free school meals and to create £150million ‘What works centres’ to draw on good practice activities in healthier eating.

“The Government white paper must provide a clear plan for implementation, a thorough needs assessment and continue an active dialogue with all key stakeholders. Rising levels of food insecurity in the UK will not be tackled without collaborative plans for action.”