‘Ban eating on public transport’: Health chief calls for crackdown

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Image Shutterstock

The government should put children's health before companies' profits, says the outgoing chief medical officer in a hard-hitting report calling for tough action against junk food, including a ban on eating and drinking on public transport, to tackle obesity.

She said: "Over time our environment has become very unhealthy without us realising".

The measures include: "Prohibit eating and drinking on urban public transport, except fresh water, breastfeeding and for medical conditions".

Phase out all marketing, advertising and sponsorship of less healthy food and drink products (as defined by the revised Nutrient Profile Model) across all mediums including online, at major public venues or public-funded events and on any public-sector-owned advertising site.

Her report puts her at odds with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who has made clear his concerns over "sin taxes" such as the sugar tax, and what he sees as "the continuing creep of the nanny state".

Health campaigners Action on Sugar described Dame Sally's call for "bold action" as "a beacon of hope and her sound recommendations are precisely what's required if we are to ever achieve the government's target to half childhood obesity in 10 years".

Some of the health impacts of childhood obesity are asthma, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and joint pain - all of which would rely on the NHS for treatment.

- Curb speed limits near schools and homes and encourage more children to walk, scoot or cycle.

Will it help with the obesity problem?

"Unhealthy foods, such as those high in sugar and salt not only do lasting damage to children that extends into adulthood but also cause stress for families and stores up problems for the health service further down the line".

In her review, Dame Sally said "excess weight has slowly crept up on us all and is now often accepted as normal".

She said children "are constantly exposed to advertising for unhealthy food and drink".

"Companies often use children's cartoon characters and sponsorship of major sporting events to market these items, casting them as the shining star in children's minds", she said.

"Children have a right to grow up in a healthy environment, but bold and fearless decisions need to be taken to help create this and meet the target of halving childhood obesity by 2030". Dame Sally added: 'It is the profound changes in the living environment that are shaping everybody's behaviour and making it much harder for us all to be a healthy weight.

Introduce necessary requirements for the dietary content material of meals for kids underneath the age of two.

"It is like treating people for cholera and then sending them back into their homes where the water is still contaminated with cholera", she said.

The report, which was commissioned by Well being Secretary Matt Hancock, additionally says 90,500 kids could also be eligible for weight-loss surgical procedure but exclusively round 10 have it every year.

The Royal Society for Public Health urged the Government and industry to "seriously consider" Professor Davies" recommendations or "risk denying children and the next generation a long and healthy life'.

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