TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall tackles Health Secretary over obesity plan

Health Secretary Victoria Atkins has been accused of doing “next to nothing” to tackle obesity in a clash with celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Ms Atkins insisted she is working on a “prevention strategy” aimed at stopping people from becoming ill, which will cover obesity.

She suggested the NHS app could help people take responsibility for their own health.

On BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, the Health Secretary said: “I’ve been in post for three months now … I will be, over the coming weeks, setting out a prevention strategy which, of course, will include obesity.

“So, over the coming weeks you will see the Government set out our plans.

“I want to take a strategic approach to prevention and, in fact, the biggest public health intervention we can make, we are making, which is creating the first smoke-free generation.”

Pushed on delays to measures including banning multi-buy deals and pre-watershed adverts for junk food, Ms Atkins said: “We’ve got to reflect the society in which we serve, in which the NHS serves.”

River Cottage star Fearnley-Whittingstall, a panellist on the show, responded to her interview by saying: “I didn’t hear any obesity strategy.”

Meanwhile, Ms Atkins said she wants a deal with England’s junior doctors to end the industrial dispute but they need to have “reasonable expectation”.

“Of course I’m keeping the channels open, of course I am, but I think we’ve got to have some realism as to what the taxpayer can afford to pay,” she said.

The British Medical Association is re-balloting junior doctors to extend the mandate for strike action until mid-September.

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