Parents back junk food discounts ban

Cancer Research UK calls on Scottish Government to begin clampdown before end of year

Monday 2nd September 2019

Scots parents have said they blame buy-one-get-one-free deals on sweets, crisps and other unhealthy foods for getting people to buy junk food and fuelling an obesity crisis.

Nine in ten told pollsters such offers are ‘influential’, with six in ten backing Scottish Government proposals to restrict promotions on foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt.

Cancer Research UK is calling on the Scottish Government to fast-track the plans and introduce legislation to clamp down on the deals before the end of the year.

Cancer prevention expert Professor Linda Bauld says Scotland is amid an obesity epidemic.

Excess weight is Scotland’s biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, with around 2,200 cases of cancer diagnosed every year – around six a day – attributable to being overweight or obese.

The Edinburgh university scientist said: “The Scottish Government has a role to play to help us all eat a better diet. The introduction without delay of world-leading laws to prevent price promotions from continuing to fuel Scotland’s obesity epidemic would be an important step towards turning the tide on a crisis that’s damaging the health of so many people across Scotland.

 “At a time when more than a fifth of very young children in Scotland are carrying too much weight and almost three in ten adults across the country are obese, the case for swift action couldn’t be more compelling.

“The health consequences of Scotland’s obesity epidemic are profound. An obese child is five times more likely to be an obese adult and carrying too much weight is linked with 13 different types of cancer.”

Professor Steve Turner of the Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health at the University of Aberdeen describes obesity as a “major preventable risk factor” for cancer.

He said: “With far too many of our children carrying too much weight today, there’s no time to waste as we try to prevent ill health in today’s children and tomorrow’s adults.

“In the next 12 months, the Scottish Government must do more to support families by introducing legislation to restrict the harmful price promotions that persuade shoppers to stock up on high calorie junk food.

“In Scotland, too much sugary food and drink is purchased on price promotion. The tide must be turned on this. The future health of Scotland’s children depends on it.”