Colin Smyth MSP attended an event run by Cancer Research UK in the Scottish Parliament last week to support the charity’s Scale Down Cancer campaign to help prevent obesity-related cancers across Scotland.

At the event Colin Smyth heard from Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, and met the fundraisers, volunteers and scientists from across Scotland who make Cancer Research UK’s research happen.

Scotland has one of the heaviest populations in Europe, with around two-thirds (64%) of adults* in Scotland and more than one quarter (22%) of children, overweight or obese**.

Colin Smyth MSP heard the latest from Cancer Research UK’s Scale Down Campaign, which urges the Scottish Government to restrict supermarket multi-buy discounts on foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt.

Given that obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking, it is important that action is taken to tackle Scotland’s obesity challenges.

Research shows that shoppers who buy more on promotion are more likely to be overweight or obese (72% of high promotion shoppers are overweight or obese)*** and two thirds of the public in Scotland back moves to restrict price promotions on foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt****.

Colin Smyth MSP said: “Four in ten cancers are preventable, yet not enough of us know that obesity is the single biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. Given the devastating impact that cancer has on families across South Scotland, it’s vital we take action on obesity.

We mustn’t let obesity continue to be the new normal in Scotland. That’s why I’m joining forces with Cancer Research UK and the Scale Down Cancer campaign.”

Gordon Matheson, Public Affairs Manager for Scotland at Cancer Research UK, said: “Promotional items offer people a wealth of tempting yet unhealthy food and drink choices when doing their weekly shop. With cut-price deals on items like chocolate, biscuits, cakes and fizzy drinks, it’s no surprise that people who buy more on promotion have a greater likelihood of being obese.

With young children frequently being the ones who suffer from the effects of these purchases, introducing restrictions is important for their future health.

With an obese child five times more likely to become an obese adult, it’s vital swift action is taken to turn the tide.

By introducing laws to restrict multi-buy offers on junk food and sugary drinks, the Scottish Government can make a real difference to our shopping baskets and to our waistlines.”

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