Cancer charity demands junk food ban

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Scotland’s love of high fat and sugary food is killing the country says Cancer Research UK

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8th February 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

Scots overwhelmingly back a ban on junk food advertising on TV before 9pm and want a sugary drinks tax according to a health charity.

Cancer Research UK says 79% of people agree with its proposals for adverts for unhealthy food to be banned on TV before the watershed and 64% back the tax on drinks with added sugar.

The charity urged the UK government to implement both proposals to help tackle a rising childhood obesity epidemic. It says adverts for foods high in sugar and fat tempt children with pretty colours and cartoons

Junk foods high in sugar and fat are everywhere in Scotland and adverts for these foods tempt children with pretty colours and cartoons.

Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK's expert in cancer prevention based at the University of Stirling said being overweight and obese is a major cause of preventable illness and death in the UK, including cancer, type two diabetes, heart disease and stroke. 

"In Scotland we joke about our nation's sweet tooth but it is no laughing matter when this contributes to people being overweight or obese and at higher risk of some cancers,” she said.

“Junk foods high in sugar and fat are everywhere in Scotland and adverts for these foods tempt children with pretty colours and cartoons.

“At a time when junk food is cheap and packed with extra calories, we need stronger action to help prevent children from choosing these foods."

With almost one in three children in Scotland reported to be overweight or obese, 88% of those surveyed by YouGov, said they thought the nation had a problem.

However only 17% correctly identified that six in 10 UK adults are obese or overweight.

Three quarters of the survey added they supported cutting price promotions on junk food.

Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, added: “To give children the best chance of a healthy future, we need to make sure there are plenty of healthy options available to them. But this is difficult when they’re exposed to lots of cheap junk food.

“Obese children are more likely to be obese as adults, which in turn increases their risk of developing cancer in later life, along with many other health problems. So it’s important that young people are encouraged to eat healthily and keep active and that healthy choices are easy to make.

“Obesity is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking and is linked to up to 10 different types including breast, bowel, and pancreatic cancer.”