With the country in “the midst of an obesity epidemic”, a group of health experts is now demanding action from the government.
The doctors - who include a paediatrician and a liver cancer specialist, as well as public health experts - said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon must include legislation to tackle multi-buy promotions on products that are high in fat, sugar and salt in her next Programme for Government. Gordon Matheson, Cancer Research UK’s public affairs manager in Scotland, said: “Price promotions on junk food encourage people to fill their shopping trolleys with unhealthy food which is eaten all too quickly.
“New laws to restrict junk food price promotions will take away the temptation that’s contributing to this obesity crisis and go a long way to helping people to keep a much healthier weight.”
Some 65 per cent of Scots and almost a third of the nation’s children are overweight, the group noted. Meanwhile, excess weight is the biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking - causing some 2,200 cases of the disease each year, with obesity linked to 13 different types of cancer.
Mr Matheson said: “The consequences of obesity on the lives of children and adults in Scotland is shocking so it’s vital the Scottish Government commits to legislation this year.”
He spoke out after the experts told the Scottish Government: “Scotland is a nation in the midst of an obesity epidemic.
“Carrying too much weight is the single biggest preventable risk factor for cancer after smoking and is associated with a wide range of illnesses and premature death.”
The group includes Aberdeen University professor and Scottish officer for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Steve Turner, Dr Tom Bird, an honorary consultant hepatologist at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, and Cancer Research UK’s cancer prevention expert Professor Linda Bauld.
Other signatories include Elma Murray, the chairwoman of the Scottish Obesity Alliance, and Lorraine Tulloch, of Obesity Action Scotland.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are currently considering responses to our consultation on restricting the promotion and marketing of discretionary foods high in fat, sugar or salt with little or no nutritional benefit.”