What’s the Latest Development?
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents nearly the whole of Britain’s medical community, has released a report containing drastic recommendations for combating obesity. They include adding enough taxes to sodas and other sugary drinks so as to increase their price by at least 20 percent, removing junk food and vending machines from hospitals, and restricting junk food ad airtime to after 9:00 pm. With 25 percent of adult Britons classified as obese, a number expected to double by 2050, the organization considers obesity the “single greatest” threat to public health.
What’s the Big Idea?
It is the first time the academy has come together so strongly on a single issue. President Terence Stephenson says the report calls for soft drinks and junk food to be treated essentially like cigarettes: “That required things like a ban on advertising and a reduction in marketing and the association of smoking with sporting activities – that helped people move away from smoking.” Not surprisingly, food industry associations are criticizing the report; the British Soft Drinks Association says that taxing soft drinks wouldn’t cure a problem “which is about overall diet and levels of activity.”
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