Two thirds of Scots back junk food plans to tackle obesity

Two thirds of Scots are worried about their weight and back a ban on junk food offers and adverts
Two thirds of Scots are worried about their weight and back a ban on junk food offers and adverts
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Almost two-thirds of Scots back plans for a ban on junk food offers as part of a national drive to tackle obesity, new research has found.

Shoppers also say supermarket multi-buy deals are largely to blame for them stocking up on unhealthy foods which are high in sugar, fat and salt through deals like “buy one get one free.”

Plans are being drawn up to restrict price promotions on foods by the Scottish Government and a new poll by Cancer Research UK has also found found 62 per cent of people back the move.

The survey also found that two-thirds of Scots are worried about their weight or the weight of a family member, while 82 per cent believe multi-buy deals encourage people to buy unhealthy food.

The charity said obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking and support strong action. Restrictions are part of the Government’s diet and obesity strategy to help people lose weight. A consultation on the plans, which would also see the broadcast of TV adverts for unhealthy food banned before the 9pm watershed, ends on Wednesday with a Holyrood debate the following day.

Public health minister Aileen Campbell has said that if the UK government did not commit to banning TV adverts for unhealthy food before the 9pm watershed, the Scottish Government would ask for powers to be devolved so it could do so itself.

Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s cancer prevention expert, said: “This survey shows that obesity is a worry for all of us – and with good reason. Obesity is linked to 13 different types of cancer.

“When we stock our cupboards with cheap chocolate, crisps and biscuits, we are getting far more than we bargained for. Obesity costs us dearly and this survey tells us the public want action.

“On World Cancer Day, we hope politicians will unite to call time on obesity in Scotland. In the fight against obesity, laws to restrict the tempting junk food deals that are at the heart of Scotland’s poor diet will be crucial.

“The evidence for action keeps piling up. We must do much more to make sure the pounds don’t keep piling on.”

Cancer Research UK surveyed more than 1,000 Scots on the issue last month.

The issue will come under the spotlight of MSPs at Holyrood later this week.

SNP backbencher Richard Lochhead said: “The Scottish Government has pledged to take forward a series of bold measures to tackle obesity, including restricting multi-buy promotions on junk food.

“As World Cancer Day approaches, we need to see everyone unite behind these ambitious and world-leading plans. This is Scotland’s chance to tip the scales in favour of a healthier future.”

Almost a third of Scottish adults are obese, a report by NHS Scotland found last year.

It also revealed Scotland’s poorest children are increasingly likely to be obese, while those in affluent areas are not. The rate of children starting school in danger of becoming obese was 7 per cent in the most affluent areas, but nearly double that at 13 per cent for the least wealthy.

Overall, NHS Health Scotland said that 29 per cent of women and 28 per cent of men aged 18-64 in Scotland were obese. The level of obesity among Scots has remained largely stable since 2008.