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Apply tobacco control lessons to obesity crisis, TV doctor says

Apply tobacco control lessons to obesity crisis, TV doctor says
By Jess Hacker
8 February 2024

The Government must apply the lessons learnt from tobacco control to England’s obesity crisis, TV doctor Dr Chris van Tulleken has said.

He claimed that the obesity crisis was being driven by a ‘relatively small number of transnational corporations’ which have their ‘ancestry in tobacco’, and have applied similar practices to proliferate junk food.

Addressing the Times Health Summit (6 February), the infectious diseases doctor at The Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London said that it was the responsibility of the Government to tame these corporations as regulation is only possible at that level.

He said: ‘Government are the only people who can regulate industries. There is not one single example in corporate history, that I am aware of, of any industry self-regulating.’

It comes as the Times Health Commission this week published its ten key recommendations for transforming the NHS, which included expanding the sugar tax to cover salt and institute a pre-watershed ban on junk food advertising.

Other major recommendations included writing off student loans for doctors, nurses and midwives by 30%, 70% and 100% if they stay in the NHS for three, seven and 10 years respectively.

NHS England was also urged to become a better employer, including by offering affordable staff canteens, night transport and on-site childcare.

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