The Scottish Obesity Alliance has called on first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, to introduce regulation to restrict price promotions and hopefully help ‘curb the obesity crisis’.
Members of the alliance wrote the letter to address food and drink products high in fat, sugar and salt, stating that “urgent action” is needed to restrict promotions on such items.
The letter notes that “Scotland has some of the highest incidences of obesity across OECD countries”, and goes on to state that 29% of adults and 13% of children aged two to 15 years old are living with obesity, and even more are living with overweight and are at high of risk of being affected by obesity later in life.
The letter also reminds that “whilst the rate of childhood obesity levels has slowed down, it has not stopped or started to decline”, before going on to call the situation a “major public health crisis.”
The address is cosigned by multiple charities and organisations, including Action on Sugar, Cancer Research UK and Diabetes Scotland.
Gordon Matheson, public affairs manager at Cancer Research UK, said: "Carrying too much weight is the most common cause of avoidable cancer in Scotland after smoking and is a major public health crisis.
“Scotland cannot afford any delays in bringing forward legislation to tackle the price promotion of junk food. The need for regulation is compelling and the public is supportive. Now is the time for the Scottish Government to act."
The news comes shortly after new analysis from Cancer Research UK found that excess weight causes more cases of certain cancers than smoking, and that the number of people who are obese now outnumbers those who smoke two to one in the UK.
The data shows that excess weight causes around 1,900 more cases of bowel cancer than smoking in the UK each year, while the same “worrying pattern” is seen in cancer in the kidneys (1,400 more cases caused by excess weight than by smoking each year), ovaries (460) and liver (180), the charity warned.