Jamie Oliver: I've never been more depressed by kids' diets

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Jamie Oliver speaking at the UN in Geneva during the World Health Assembly. Photo: UN Radio/Daniel Johnson

Children's diets have never been so bad but there is a way to change this for the better, top chef Jamie Oliver told the UN on Monday.

The British cook and food campaigner was speaking at the UN in Geneva during the World Health Assembly.

Here's Daniel Johnson in Geneva.

Surrounded by government ministers at a high-level event on nutrition at the UN in Geneva, Jamie Oliver admitted to a few nerves.

But he was right at home when giving his message about doing more to tackle child obesity and child under-nutrition.

 "I've never been more depressed about child health; it frightens the life out of me, whether it's hunger and malnutrition or obesity and malnutrition….the mechanisms behind Big Food Inc. are incredible. Yes without doubt in my opinion they have caused the problem, but in my opinion they can solve the problem as well."

In a call to governments to take action to protect children from the harmful effects of a poor diet, and for people to hold politicians and the food industry to account, the British chef said that radical and unpopular ideas had proved their worth.

These include the UK's so-called sugar tax, announced for 2018 and which will target soft drinks that are popular with children.

His message echoed that of the health minister for Mexico, who said that a similar project had seen the consumption of sugary drinks fall six per cent in the first year.

Such action is urgently needed if governments are to prevent nutrition-related non-communicable diseases linked to being overweight, UN experts say.

Duration: 1'13"

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