Only the privileged can afford to eat on public transport

Grant Boone
October 11, 2019

Britain's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, made the suggestion in her final report as the United Kingdom government's most senior health adviser, published on Thursday.

Dame Sally said the systems of applying Value-Added Tax to food that may not be aligned with healthy eating advice contributed to healthy food and drink often being pricier than unhealthy options.

"If we want people to lose weight and live healthier lifestyles, we should encourage people to walk, cycle and generally do more exercise... rather than just taxing people more", he said in July.

Do you think we should ban eating on public transport?

Professor Davies said the Government "must not shy away from regulation" and called for the phasing out of marketing, advertising and sponsorship of unhealthy foods at all major public venues.

Boris Johnson expressed concerns in July about "stealth sin taxes" and the "continuing creep of the nanny state". However, that is not the aim of this policy which is part of proposals created to reduce childhood obesity.

Katharine Jenner, at Action on Sugar, said Davies' "brave call for bold action is a beacon of hope" and that there was an urgent need to restrict promotions and marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages, which can only be achieved through legislation.

She adds that around 1.2 million children are classed as clinically obese, with many of them having side effects including Type 2 diabetes, asthma and mental health problems.

By making snacking on public transport a difficulty, we're reinforcing the (incorrect) presumption that weight, and well being, is one thing we will all management - that it's merely a matter of non-public accountability.

- Curb auto speed limits near schools and homes to help improve air quality and encourage children to walk or cycle.

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NHS chief executive Simon Stevens said of the latest data: "Obesity is a risky public health threat for our children, leading to a string of serious illnesses".

Make free drinking water available in takeaways, food shops and restaurants.

'Unhealthy options appear to flow freely, flooding high streets, shops and checkouts'.

Food companies have been urged to cut the sugar in their products, but could still do more, said the report.

Thus casting them as the "shining star in children's minds".

Today Dame Sally said Government had a "moral responsibility" to act, instead of putting the food industry's profits first.

"It is like treating people for cholera and then sending them back into their homes where the water is still contaminated with cholera", she said.

Health secretary, Matt Hancock, praised Davies, saying she "has done more than anyone to promote the health of the nation over a decade as CMO..."

"As Public Health England acknowledge, reformulating products takes time, and we must always take the consumer with us", said FDF UK Diet and Health Policy head Kate Halliwell.

Dame Sally said in her report: 'The Government ambition is to halve childhood obesity by 2030 - in England, we are nowhere near achieving this.

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