We must take urgent action on obesity
WE are facing an obesity crisis in Scotland. Figures released last week show that two in every three adults are overweight or obese, meaning people of a healthy weight are now in the minority.
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.
Every year more than 30,000 people in Scotland are diagnosed with cancer. Overweight and obesity are linked to 13 different types of cancer and obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. That extra fat we are carrying around has harmful effects, yet figures released by Cancer Research UK reveal that only a quarter of Scottish adults know that being overweight can cause cancer. That’s why we’ve joined forces to hold Scotland’s first ever Obesity and Cancer Awareness Week.
This year the Scottish Government has committed to developing bold new initiatives to tackle obesity and improve our diet. We strongly believe those initiatives should include regulations to tackle multi-buy price promotions on junk food, tackling junk food advertising, supporting UK-wide work on reformulation, curbing growing portion sizes in the places where we eat out and investing the monies raised from the Soft Drinks Industry Levy to help prevent obesity.
If we fail to take action we are sentencing the Scottish 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 must take the action necessary to set us on the path of a healthier future for everyone.
Lorraine Tulloch, Obesity Action Scotland; Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK; Professor Annie Anderson, Scottish Cancer Prevention Network, c/o Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow,
232-242 St Vincent Street, Glasgow.