Tougher laws on junk food will cut cancer rates, in­sist char­i­ties

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

JODY HAR­RI­SON

the risks as­so­ci­ated with overeat­ing. The char­i­ties called for reg­u­la­tions to tackle multi-buy price pro­mo­tions on junk food, mea­sures to re­duce junk food ad­ver­tis­ing, cuts to por­tion sizes in the places where we eat out and for money raised from the Soft Drinks In­dus­try Levy to be in­vested to help pre­vent obe­sity.

Their let­ter states: “We are fac­ing an obe­sity cri­sis in Scot­land. The cur­rent obe­sity cri­sis is clearly linked to our over­con­sump­tion of en­ergy dense foods and drinks.

“We are bom­barded with spe­cial of­fers and slick ad­ver­tis­ing on un­healthy foods and this sig­nif­i­cantly in­flu­ences our choices. Obe­sity af­fects our qual­ity of life and our length of life. It’s cost­ing us dear.”

Each year, more than 30,000 peo­ple in Scot­land are di­ag­nosed with cancer, many of them linked to be­ing over­weight. Th­ese in­clude bowel and breast cancer, and two of the hard­est forms of the dis­ease to treat – pan­cre­atic and oe­sophageal.

Scot­land’s lev­els of obe­sity are the worst in the UK, and among the worst com­pared to most other western coun­tries coun­tries.

Fig­ures re­leased last week show that two in ev­ery three adults, and more than one-quar­ter of chil­dren, are over­weight or obese, mean­ing peo­ple of a healthy weight are now in the mi­nor­ity.

Each year, ex­cess weight is es­ti­mated to cost up to £600 mil­lion to NHS Scot­land, and £4.6 bil­lion in the wider econ­omy due to lost pro­duc­tiv­ity and ab­sen­teeism.

The let­ter con­tin­ues: “If we fail to take ac­tion we are sen­tenc­ing peo­ple to a fu­ture of ill health. Im­prov­ing our diet will not only have a pos­i­tive im­pact on our weight but also help stack the odds against cancer.”

The Scot­tish Govern­ment launched a £100 mil­lion anti-cancer strat­egy last year.

Pub­lic Health Min­is­ter Aileen Camp­bell said: “Tack­ling obe­sity is a top pri­or­ity. We con­tinue to en­gage with the food and drink in­dus­try on ac­tion to of­fer health­ier choices, in­clud­ing re­bal­anc­ing pro­mo­tions and re­duc­ing added sugar, to en­cour­age ev­ery­one to eat less, eat bet­ter and move more.

“We have con­sis­tently called on the UK Govern­ment to ban junk food ad­ver­tis­ing be­fore the 9pm water­shed, a move we be­lieve would greatly re­duce chil­dren’s exposure to the mar­ket­ing of un­healthy food and drink.”

To­day’s let­ter is signed by Lor­raine Tul­loch of Obe­sity Ac­tion Scot­land, Pro­fes­sor Linda Bauld of Cancer Re­search UK and Pro­fes­sor An­nie An­der­son of the Scot­tish Cancer Preven­tion Net­work.

Child Abuse In­quiry chair­woman Lady Smith.

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