As part of a new obesity drive, Public Health England is telling people in the UK to “get on a diet” and wants to cut portion sizes of some of the nation’s most popular foods.
Pizzas, ready meals, takeaways and processed meat will all be targeted as part of the initiative to cut calorie consumption by 20% by 2024.
In addition, the government agency has called on the food industry to start using healthier ingredients and encourage people to choose lower calorie foods.
The drive to eat healthier will not only improve the health of the nation, but also reduce the burden on the NHS associated with obesity-related illnesses. Public Health England says the cost per year of obesity to the NHS is £6 billion.
Combined with the sugar reduction programme that came into effect last year and the sugary drinks levy which comes into force next month, this new initiative will also help reduce the number of calories consumed by children in the UK.
Talking about the new steps, Public Heath England chief executive Duncan Selbie said: "Britain needs to go on a diet. Children and adults routinely eat too many calories, and it's why so many are overweight or obese."
Food manufacturers, supermarkets, takeaways and fast-food outlets have all been told they need to reduce the calories in the foods such as crisps and savoury snacks, cooking sauces and dressings, ready meals and takeaways, and food-to-go like sandwiches.
If these companies do not listen to PHE, the agency said it would be willing to ask the government to legislate.
Guidelines suggest that women eat no more than 2,000 calories a day, while men should limit themselves to 2,500.