ALMOST four in five Scots back a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm TV watershed, new research today has found.
And a tax on sugary drinks, which could help tackle the rising childhood obesity epidemic, has the support of about two-thirds (64 per cent) people, according to a new YouGov survey* published by Cancer Research UK today.
Scotland’s new national food body recently called for ministers at Holyrood to plan for the introduction of a sugar tax. Food Standards Scotland said the food industry should be given a year to come up with other ways of cutting sugar consumption.
The new survey shows strong support for action to fight childhood obesity, with most Scots (88 per cent) thinking it is a problem.
Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s expert in cancer prevention based at the University of Stirling, said: “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.
“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.
“We want the UK government to ban junk food adverts on TV before the 9pm watershed, put a tax on sugary drinks and enforce targets for reducing the amount of fat and sugar in food. Reducing obesity rates could save the NHS billions of pounds.”
More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of Scots support reducing junk food advertising online and 75 per cent support cutting price promotions on junk food. Almost six in ten underestimated the proportion of overweight or obese adults in the UK according to the survey. 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, with almost one in three children in Scotland are overweight or obese.
Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at Cancer Research UK, said: “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.”