April 16th, 2012
We must demonise junk food for the sake of our children
By Aseem Malhotra
A consultant psychiatrist friend, on his recent appointment to a new job, was so disgusted by the detrimental effect of the unchecked consumption of junk food on his patients’ health that he successfully banned vending machines selling chocolates, fizzy drinks and crisps from the hospital grounds.
He wondered whether I – as a clinician – believed the consequences of eating junk food were as bad for our health as smoking cigarettes. “No, not as bad,” I replied, “in many ways it’s far worse!”
It is estimated that diet-related diseases are responsible for 35 million deaths worldwide, dwarfing smoking-related ones of 5 to 8 million. And while there have been tremendous advances in discouraging cigarette consumption, we haven’t really started to act on obesity.
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