RCPE Press Release

18 May 2010

Medical Experts Call For Legislation to Ban Advertising of Unhealthy Food, as Diabetes Increases

A group of over 100 diabetes experts from across Scotland and the UK has called for legislative action to ban all forms of advertising of unhealthy foods to children in order to reduce increasing obesity levels and, in turn, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In recent years obesity levels have increased significantly. Two thirds of the UK adult population is currently overweight (BMI>25 Kg/m2) and one quarter obese (BMI>30 Kg/m2 ). Obesity poses a significant health challenge and carries a strong risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers. Against this background, the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) convened a UK-wide meeting of diabetes experts in order to reach a consensus on how best to tackle this major threat to health. After considering the evidence and in addition to making a number of practical clinical recommendations for improving diabetes care, this group of medical experts has called for tighter legislative regulation of the food, drink and catering industry and the extension of current restrictions on advertising unhealthy foods to children (during children’s TV programmes) to the non-broadcast media and the wider marketing environment.

Dr Scott Ramsay, lead organiser of the event for the RCPE, said,

“Rates of obesity and diabetes are continuing to increase at alarming rates and pose one of the most serious health challenges of this time. In response to this situation, diabetes experts from across the UK have come together to call on the Scottish and UK governments to demonstrate greater leadership in tackling this crisis. In particular we believe that the lessons from effective legislation on smoking should be used to promote healthier diets, increased physical activity and to inform transport and planning policy. This should involve tighter regulation of the food and drink industry and the extension of restrictions on “less healthy” food and drink advertising in children’s television programmes to all forms of advertising aimed at children.”

  • RCPE UK Consensus Statement on Diabetes

A Supplement to The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh containing the background papers which informed the development of this consensus statement has now been published.