The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, representing nearly every doctor in the United Kingdom, calls on unhealthy foods to be addressed with anti-tobacco-like campaigns as current measures are clearly failing.
The UK is the "fat man" of Europe. This phrase, which reflects the shocking reality that one quarter of UK inhabitants are obese and up to one third are overweight, is the starting point of Measuring Up: the medical profession’s prescription for the nation’s obesity crisis, a report recently released by The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges calling for action over obesity.
The prospects do not look good, as obesity figures are predicted to double by 2050 in the UK. According to Prof. Terence Stepheson, chair of the Academy, the entire eating culture has to change to make easier to chose the healthy options, a tax to increase sugary drinks prices by at least 20% is needed to "encourage people to drink more healthy drinks". Dr. Aseem Malhotra, who helped developing the report, adds that "there’s an oversupply of cheap sugary foods, clearly regulation is needed".
Other recommendations of the Measuring Up report are:
However, according the Food and Drink Federation, this report is a "collection of unbalanced ideas apparently heavily influenced by single issue pressure groups" and fails to look seriously at "how the food industry and the medical profession would have worked together to tackle obesity". The British Soft Drinks Association also opposes the idea of taxing sugary drinks, as they are "just 2%" of the total calories in the average diet.
The English Department of Health, who set up a series of voluntary agreements with the food sector, has welcomed the report and called on the industry to "intensify their efforts" and reminded that the Government is already helping making healthier choices through the Change4Life program.
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