Eating on public transport should be banned, claims report

Woman eating hamburger on bus

Woman eating hamburger on bus

The government should ban eating and drinking on public transport to help curb childhood obesity, the outgoing chief medical officer has said.

Responding to the findings, Mr Hancock said: "Professor Dame Sally Davies has done more than anyone to promote the health of the nation over a decade as CMO".

But Dame Sally said: "The government ambition is to halve childhood obesity by 2030 - in England, we are nowhere near achieving this".

"Children have a right to grow up in a healthy environment, but bold and courageous decisions need to be taken to help create this and meet the target of halving childhood obesity by 2030".

"Excess weight has slowly crept up on us all and is now often accepted as normal".

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.

Allow children to grow up free from marketing, signals and incentives to consume unhealthy food and drink - including prohibiting eating and drinking on urban public transport, except fresh water, breastfeeding and for medical conditions.

The proposal has provoked a backlash on social media, with some people arguing it's "the only time to get in a meal" for some. "However, these same nurses have been fighting an uphill battle, on the one hand against corporations who have resisted reform and used advertising to manipulate childrens' diets, and on the other against sustained cuts to public health spending and a significant reduction in the numbers of school nurses and health visitors who perform vital early interventions with families and children".

She has called for adverts for fatty, salty and sugary products to be banned at all publicly-funded sporting facilities and at major sporting events.

The report added that children were "constantly exposed to advertising for unhealthy food and drink".

Boris Johnson had previously said he was "reluctant" to introduce a further sugar tax under his tenure due to it hitting those with low-incomes most, but the report says there has been no evidence the levy had negatively impacted such groups. It imposes a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages based on total sugar content.

Should eating on public transport be banned?

- Tax food firms that fail to reduce sugar, fat and salt in their products quickly enough, and consider plain packaging (as for tobacco) for junk food.

- A cap on the maximum calories per serving at food outlets.

- Phasing out all marketing, advertising and sponsorship of less healthy food and drink products across all mediums, including online, at any major public venue or public-funded event and on any public-sector-owned advertising site.

- Curb vehicle speed limits near schools and homes to help improve air quality and encourage children to walk or cycle. Will it help with the obesity problem?

'Every parent wants to know that their child is getting tasty, healthy and nutritious food and they need reassurance that the standards are of the highest quality'.

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