UK Medical Organisation Calls for Ban on Advertising & Sponsorship for Junk Food

If successful, an umbrella organisation of doctors' bodies could see junk food brands such as McDonald's and Coca-Cola banned from sponsoring sports events such as the Olympics.

The Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (AoMRC) argues the government's current strategy for tackling obesity has "failed to have a significant impact" and that obesity is the "single greatest public health threat" in the UK.

They predict that given 24% of women and 22% of men in the UK are classed as obese, this rising problem will cost the NHS £10bn a year by 2050.

The AoMRC would like to tackle the situation by enforcing an advertising ban on junk food retailers. Proposals include a ban on sports sponsorship and an end to the use of celebrities and cartoon characters to market unhealthy food and drinks targeted at children.

In addition, they recommend a "fat tax" that would see customers who opt for foods that are high in fat and salt paying more.

A three-month evidence-gathering inquiry has now been launched by the organisation. Healthcare professionals, local authorities, education providers, charities, campaign groups and the public will be invited to give evidence.

The aim is to collect research and strategies to prevent or reduce obesity in five key areas including advertising and sponsorship.

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