Last Friday, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has proposed a ban on “junk food” across the entire network of Transport for London (TfL).
The said move is intended to take on the “ticking timebomb” of obesity of children in London.
Khan stated: “Child obesity in London is a ticking timebomb and I am determined to act. If we don’t take bold steps against it we are not doing right by our young people as well as placing a huge strain on our already pressurised health service in years to come.”
The office of the Mayor has said that London has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in Europe with 40 percent of children aged 10 and 11 obese or overweight.
Children who are in poorer areas are affected disproportionately, with children in Dagenham and Barking almost twice as prone to be overweight as the children from Richmond.
The said proposals are open for consultation. It would result in a ban on advertisements for unhealthy drinks and food across the TfL estate, including the London Overground, London Underground, buses and bus shelters.
Lilli Matson, the Director for transport strategy at TfL, stated: “Asking Londoners what they think about only allowing healthier foods and drink to be advertised on our network, along with our work to encourage people to lead a more active lifestyle, are just some of the ways we are supporting the Mayor’s transport strategy to help make our city a healthier place for people to live in, work and visit.”
Law firm DWF’s head of retail, food and hospitality, Hilary Ross, stated: “Focusing on advertising alone is like using a ‘sticking plaster’ to mend a broken limb and fails to tackle the real issue. The increase of obesity in the UK is multidimensional, aspects of which include socioeconomic status, physical inactivity as well as what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat. What we need is a holistic approach that addresses all these issues by educating and addressing the nation’s attitude towards eating and drinking.”