So in the news again today, another story about obesity and the risks it causes.
A new study by Cancer Research UK has shown that UK Millennials (anyone born between the early 1980s and mid 1990s) are set to be the most over weight generation since records began, with over seven in ten being overweight by the time they reach middle age.
The charity is concerned that people just aren’t aware of the cancer risks, and that only 15% of people in the UK realise that being fat as an adult is linked to 13 different types of cancer, including breast, bowel and kidney cancer.
Cancer Research UK spokeswoman Professor Linda Bauld said: “Extra body fat doesn’t just sit there; it sends messages around the body that can cause damage to cells. This damage can build up over time and increase the risk of cancer in the same way that damage from smoking causes cancer.”
Once again, the advice to help prevent the risk of cancer isn’t rocket science. More fruit and veg, wholegrains and fibre, and less junk food. It’s so simple, yet seemingly so difficult.
What is our obsession with eating things that are bad for us. Habit? Availability? Lack of education? And what on earth is the answer? An industry-wide junk food tax, making it more expensive so that people don’t buy as much?
The Sugar Tax (Soft Drinks Industry Levy) which will be implemented in the UK in April 2018, will see price increases in soft drinks that have over a certain amount of sugar in them. For example a can of Coca Cola is set to increase by about 8p. Is this enough to make consumers not buy it? It’s likely however that some producers will just reduce the sugar quantity and introduce artificial sweeteners, in order to swerve the tax. But artificial sweeteners have their own risks.
Other initiatives have been implemented such as traffic light labelling on foods, restrictions on the advertising of high-fat, high-sugar foods during children’s TV programmes or where 75% of the audience will be children, and some supermarkets have made the decision themselves to remove sweets and chocolate bars from checkout areas.
There is no easy solution to the problem, and while the temptations are so affordably there, we will keep consuming them. What would it take for you to sit up and listen?