Miss GB winner who battled obesity calls for better food labelling

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Miss Great Britain Jen AtkinImage source, Jin Rathod Imagery
Image caption,
Jen Atkin says she is "still in massive shock" after being crowned Miss Great Britain

A woman who won the Miss Great Britain crown after battling obesity has called for better labelling on food packaging to help promote healthy eating.

Twenty-six-year-old Jen Atkin, who lost eight stone (50kg) in two years, was named Miss GB last month.

Three years ago Miss Atkin, from Grimsby, weighed 18 stone and was told she was obese.

She said food packaging had to be "clearer and easier" for people to gauge the healthiness of an item.

Image source, Jen Atkin
Image caption,
"In my head I'm still that 18-stone girl who's hiding behind this smile"

Miss Atkin, who works as an administrator at an oil refinery, said she was "still in massive shock" after achieving her dream.

"I just never expected - especially five years ago - I would never have looked and thought I'm going to be Miss Great Britain.

"I was incredibly proud to be... like a normal size 10 to 12 girl with wobbly bits and stretch marks."

Image source, Jin Rathod Imagery
Image caption,
The oil refinery administrator said "all my dreams have finally come true"

The new title-holder said she was "still the same person", despite her beauty queen status.

"I'd never hate the girl I was, ever, because she genuinely made me the person I am today.

"In my head I'm still that 18-stone girl who's hiding behind this smile."

The 26-year-old, who completed a nutrition course two years ago, added: "At my biggest I was a size 22 and it never really occurred to me that that was unhealthy or I was an unhealthy person."

She said food labelling should be "eye-catching" to warn people if an item was unhealthy, because the current front-of-pack traffic light system was "so small", and wants icons on labels explaining the amount of exercise it would take to burn off calories.

"I think things need to be a bit clearer... just to make it easier for everyone," she said.

The Department for Health said it was considering "a range of measures to build on the success of our current traffic light nutritional labelling scheme".

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