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Podcast / The Big Issues
Podcast / The Big Issues

The UK government’s new obesity strategy in focus

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the dangers that obesity presents to overall health and wellbeing. With obese people more likely to develop serious illness, and require hospitalisation, it’s clear that the UK needs a new strategy to help tackle the growing obesity crisis across the country.

In response, the government has put together a strategy that they think will help to encourage healthy change, and address the obesity problem. The new measures include advertising regulations, ending buy one get one free deals on unhealthy food, and new labelling guidelines. Does it go far enough?

Joining us to discuss these new proposals is Jo Churchill MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care. Jo explains what the government is hoping to achieve, what success will look like, and how the industry can help in a fascinating look at this new government policy.

About Jo Churchill

Jo Churchill was brought up in East Anglia and, before moving to Suffolk two years ago, lived and worked in the rural county of Lincolnshire, with her husband and four daughters. Her early career started in retail for both regional and global brands and led her into site development and the building industry. Since 1994, she has run two successful contracting companies.

As a mature student, studying part time as she worked, she achieved first class degrees at both BSc and MSc levels. She began to study for a PhD in Small and Medium Sized Enterprise and Social Responsibility at the University of Nottingham. Unfortunately, a second bout of cancer forced her to put her research on hold.

Her lifelong interest in politics became more focused five years ago, when she started campaigning for improved cancer outcomes. As a thirty one mother of two, she was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer and she was treated again in her mid 40’s for breast cancer.

Her personal experience of the services and support available to patients, led to her involvement with Breakthrough, the Breast Cancer charity. In her time as a healthcare campaigner, she spoke in Parliament on cancer outcomes and undertook national awareness campaigns.

Her drive to improve everyday lives, led her to being elected as a Lincolnshire County Councillor. In this role she immediately took on an executive function covering and working with a broad range of external bodies, but still with a particular focus for health and business such as the Local Enterprise Partnership and Health and Well-Being Board.

As her daughters have grown up, she has been a Vice chair of Governors at one of the East Midlands top Grammar schools and has chaired their finance committee. She has also been a governor at a BESD school rated as outstanding and sat on a Sure Start Board.

Throughout her life, she has always juggled working, studying, raising her four daughters and a two time cancer diagnosis. She now brings her broad base of experience to the constituency and her home of Bury St Edmunds. First elected as a Member of Parliament and the first female representative for Bury St Edmunds in 2015, re-elected again in 2017. 

In July 2016, she was elected, with joint highest nominations to join the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA). 

In July 2016, she was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, Minister of State for Armed Forces. 

In 2017, she was appointed PPS to Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Health. 

In 2018, she was appointed to Assistant Government Whip in HM Government. 

In 2019, she was appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care in HM Government.

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