February the 4th is World Cancer Day and this year Cancer Research UK will focus on the link between obesity and cancer.
Scotland has one of the heaviest populations in Europe, with two in three adults in Scotland overweight or obese – and 22.1% of children in Orkney started primary school overweight or obese in 2014.
In her role as a member of the Scottish Parliament, Maree Todd MSP is a member of the Health and Sport Committee.
Last week, she spoke in a debate in the Scottish Parliament on World Cancer Day. In her speech, she raised the link between obesity and cancer and called for all politicians to be ‘bold’ in tackling obesity.
Cancer Research UK estimates that in Orkney around 110 cancer cases and around 55 cancer related deaths per year could be prevented.
Now Cancer Research UK is urging governments to do more to tackle obesity and prevent cancer by restricting supermarket multi-buy discounts that are high in fat, salt and sugar.
Foods on promotion account for around 40 per cent of all expenditure on food and drinks consumed at home, and Cancer Research UK warn this unhealthy shopping habit is weighing heavily on the health of the nation.
Gregor McNie, Senior Public Affairs Manager at Cancer Research UK, said:
“We know that sugary drinks and snacks are more likely to be discounted than healthier foods. Our survey shows people are being attracted by these promotions, something which is setting them up for a lifetime of ill-health.”
Maree Todd MSP said:
“Research has shown that two of every five cancers are preventable. Obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, yet obesity is not as widely known for its links to cancer. Given the devastating impact that cancer has on families here in Orkney, it’s vital we take action on obesity. We must not let obesity continue to be the new normal in Scotland.
“Tackling obesity will help us to prevent cancer – which is obviously a great thing as cancer affects everyone in our society as almost everyone will either suffer from cancer or experience a close friend or family member suffering from cancer at some stage in our lives. That’s why I’m joining forces with Cancer Research UK and the Scale Down Cancer campaign.”