Supermarket meal deals should be 'illegal' says obesity expert
A health and obesity expert has suggested supermarket 'meal deals' should be banned. Speaking on a radio show in Ireland, Professor Donal O'Shea, clinical lead with the country's Health Service Executive, said the deals almost always include unhealthy options.
The Manchester Evening News reports that he was speaking on The Pat Kenny Show on Wednesday when he said of the meal deals and their unhealthy food options: "Literally, that should be illegal."
He continued: "The industry has the statistics and they know how to prompt and promote consumption, And 70% of people will say no the first time, but if the person behind the counter says 'well are you sure, it's a good offer'. Then another 30% will say 'ah yeah, go on'.
"They are actually trained because the industry has the stats and they know how to prompt and they know how to promote consumption. We just have to be super aware of that and try to resist it. Those buy one get one free offers are always around the high fat, high salt, high sugar stuff, never around fruit.”
Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation said overweight and obesity have reached “epidemic proportions” in Europe, causing an estimated more than 1.2 million deaths every year, according to a major new report.
The study, from the World Health Organisation (WHO), found that excess body fat leads to premature death and is a leading risk factor for disability. The Covid-19 pandemic has made things worse, including for children in the UK, due to drops in exercise and increases “in the consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt”, the report said.
Across Europe, being overweight or obese affects 59% of adults as well as 8% of children under five and one in three children of school age.
Of all the countries in Europe, the UK ranks fourth for having the most overweight and obese adults, behind Israel, Malta and Turkey, according to the study. It is second only to Malta on obesity.
“Alarmingly, there have been consistent increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the WHO European region and no member state is on track to reach the target of halting the rise in obesity by 2025”, the report said.
The research noted that obesity is associated with many diseases, including musculoskeletal complications, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and at least 13 types of cancer.
“Across the WHO European region, obesity is likely to be directly responsible for at least 200,000 new cancer cases annually, with this figure projected to rise in the coming decades,” it added.