‘Boris Johnson’s U-turn on junk food bans shows he puts profits over lives’ – Saira Khan

Saira Khan wants the Government to help reduce the visibility of and accessibility to junk food. Her 11-year-old daughter is tempted by telly ads showing kids eating sugary cereals for breakfast

Boris Johnson pledged to ban multi-buy junk food deals from 2023 – but then changed his mind

We need to start taking the obesity pandemic in this country seriously if we really care about our health and the NHS.

That’s why I supported celebrity chef Jamie Oliver ’s Eton Mess demonstration, which called for the Government to scrap its u-turn on banning junk food advertising and multi-buy supermarket deals.

Statistics produced by the charity Cancer Research are truly shocking – it says more than 42 million adults in the UK will be overweight or obese by 2040.

When it comes to children, horrifying research shows that 14.4% of four to five-year-olds are obese, and this figure increases to 25.5% at ages 10-11.

Rising rates of obesity-related illnesses translate to increasing costs for the NHS.

Obesity is a very emotive subject. I know that when talking about people being overweight in a public forum, you have to choose your words carefully.

One slip and the trolls are out accusing you of “fat shaming”.







Jamie Oliver protested in front of Downing Street
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Image:

Zuma Press/PA Images)

While I completely understand there are a myriad of reasons why people become obese, I do believe there are some very simple things we can do as a society to help people, especially our children, to make better food choices.

It is a well-recognised fact that foods high in fat, sugar, salt and processed ingredients are addictive and can cause obesity, which in turn can lead to cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.

Boris Johnson and his government pledged to ban multi-buy junk food deals and pre-watershed TV advertising from 2023.

But Boris loves a U-turn, and these bans will now no longer take place for at least a year (if at all). He cites the cost-of-living crisis for his reasons.

So what he’s saying is: “Hey, if you can’t afford healthy food which is expensive, stock up on the junk which I’m allowing you to buy cheaply.” Disgusting.

Out of touch and a clear indication that the nation’s health and that of the NHS is not on top of the Tory Government’s agenda.

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As a parent of school-age children, I want the Government to help reduce the visibility of and accessibility to junk food. I know from pulling out sweet wrappers from my 14-year-old son’s pockets that he spends his pocket money on BOGOFs (buy one, get one free). Because they are cheap and available.

If BOGOFs didn’t exist, he would still buy sweets, crisps and fizzy drinks, but not as often, so he would eat less junk.

My 11-year-old daughter is tempted by telly ads showing kids eating sugary cereals for breakfast. She feels hard done by when I say no, it’s porridge, eggs or peanut butter on toast. If she hadn’t seen the ads, I wouldn’t be put through a guilt trip and my kid wouldn’t feel she’s missing out.

Boris is appeasing the food and advertising industries, which stand to lose millions of pounds, rather than prioritising our health.

Do we really want a leader and a government which betray our children by putting profit before morals?

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