We must take ur­gent ac­tion on obe­sity

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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