Chairman and Spokesperson, National Obesity Forum
Tam Fry, 80, co-founded the Child Growth Foundation [CGF] in 1977 to create awareness of endocrine issues juggling his work with being a senior director in BBC Television. In 1988, after 25yrs in post, he left this day job to run CGF full time and build it to become the UK’s leading charity in the field.
In 1994, at the time that that CGF launched the UK’s first paediatric body mass index [BMI] charts he broadened the charity’s brief to champion childhood obesity. He quickly found that it was a tougher nut to crack - and trying to find the way to do so still keeps him awake at night.
In 2005 he became spokesman for UK’s National Obesity Forum, a position which demanded that he speak for adult obesity as well. Such is the enormity and breadth of the epidemic that he is on call 7/7 to provide media comment on every aspect of the battle to tackle it and prevent it spreading. In 2007 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of this work and this year became the Chair of the Forum. He is the first non-medical person to occupy the position.
Both from his time running the CGF and his entry into the obesity arena, his condemnation of the spread of sugar into foodstuffs – and into children’s foodstuff in particular – is high on his list of evils to challenge. He was invited to be an external expert advisor to the UK’s “ Action on Sugar “ campaign and revels in its considerable success.
In the BBC, his main claim to fame was directing large scale television productions [such as the BBC Apollo/Space Shuttle coverage 1968 – 1978], documentary dramas and being responsible for the infrastructure for major political programme coverage in UK and Europe. His swansong, in 1983, was to be one of the team that introduced breakfast television to the UK and the use of computers to television production.
Domestically, he is proud still to be married [for 52 years and counting!] with two daughters and two grandchildren. He has a healthy heart but, he says, his mind is going a bit. He is the only one of the family even remotely overweight but the science will tell you that it’s OK for pensioners to be so!