Shoppers in Dundee have shown support for a charity’s campaign for new restrictions on the promotion of unhealthy foods.
Cancer Research UK hit the streets to gauge opinion and also held a poll it says shows supermarket multi-buy deals are largely to blame for shoppers stocking up on junk food.
It comes ahead of a Scottish Parliament debate on the nation’s obesity problem.
More than four fifths (82%) of those questioned said price deals that offered extra items for free were influential in encouraging people to buy unhealthy food.
Meanwhile, the charity says its call for the Scottish Government to restrict price promotions on foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt is supported by the public with almost two thirds (62%) of people backing the move.
The Cancer Research UK survey also found that 83% of the public think Scotland has a problem with obesity.
And two thirds of those surveyed (66%) were also worried about their weight or the weight of someone in their immediate family.
The results of the poll have been published just ahead of a debate in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday which will highlight that obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking.
With two thirds of adults and over a quarter of children in Scotland overweight or obese, campaigners believe strong action is needed from the Scottish Government when it publishes its obesity strategy later this year, including the introduction of laws to restrict price promotions on unhealthy foods.
The new survey also uncovered overwhelming public support for supermarkets rebalancing their price promotions away from unhealthy food to other staple household items, with 72% of those questioned supporting the idea.
The charity hopes the debate at the Scottish Parliament will unite politicians ahead of World Cancer Day on February 4 and encourage a solution to Scotland’s obesity problem.
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s cancer prevention expert, said: “This survey shows that obesity is a worry for all of us – and with good reason. Obesity is linked to 13 different types of cancer.
“When we stock our cupboards with cheap chocolate, crisps and biscuits, we are getting far more than we bargained for. Obesity costs us dearly and this survey tells us the public want action.
“On World Cancer Day, we hope politicians will unite to call time on obesity in Scotland. In the fight against obesity, laws to restrict the tempting junk food deals that are at the heart of Scotland’s poor diet will be crucial.
“The evidence for action keeps piling up. We must do much more to make sure the pounds don’t keep piling on.”
Thursday’s debate has been backed by Richard Lochhead MSP. He said: “The Scottish Government has pledged to take forward a series of bold measures to tackle obesity, including restricting multi-buy promotions on junk food.
“As World Cancer Day approaches, we need to see everyone unite behind these ambitious and world-leading plans. This is Scotland’s chance to tip the scales in favour of a healthier future.”
For more on this story, see Thursday’s Courier