Ban Junk Food And Drink In Hospitals To Combat Obesity

Cardiologist, Dr Aseem Malhotra tabled the motion at the BMA Conference in a bid to prevent unhealthy food being offered to patients  – which he says is part of getting the medical profession’s own ‘house in order’  in an attempt to stem the growing problem of obesity amongst the UK population

 

Writing in the British Medical Journal today, Dr Malhotra said:

 

“An oversupply of nutritionally poor and energy dense foods loaded with sugar, salt and trans fats, fuelled by aggressive and irresponsible marketing  by the junk food industry has even been allowed to hijack the very institutions that at are supposed to set an example and promote positive health messages; our hospitals.”

 

“It’s time for the British Medical Association to join with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and lobby for a ban of junk food and beverages to be sold in all hospitals. To combat obesity we must start in our own back yard.”

 

The motion: ‘That this meeting asks the BMA to lobby the DH and NHS Confederation to ensure that all NHS premises should ban the sale of junk food and junk drinks’, follows a call from the Academy of Medical Royal College (AoMRC) in its Measuring Up campaign launched earlier this year to make nutritional standards mandatory in hospitals, similar to those schools and prisons.

 

Professor Terence Stephenson, Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, backs the motion.  He said:

 

“In many hospital receptions patients pass by fast food outlets or vending machines selling confectionery, sugary drinks and crisps. If the NHS is to send out a message that it takes the obesity crisis seriously, it cannot recreate the same unhealthy environment inside hospitals as exists on the high street. We have to make sure that patients and staff alike are offered healthy and nutritious meal choices.  “

 

The latest statistics on obesity show that:

 

There has been a  four-fold increase in the in the number of children and teenagers admitted to hospital for obesity-related conditions in the last decade

Just over a quarter (26%) of adults in the UK are classed as obese

The UK has the highest rate of obesity in Europe with one in three children overweight or obese by the age of 9

 

The motion put forward at the BMA Conference is

‘That this meeting asks the BMA to lobby the DH and NHS Confederation to ensure that all NHS premises should ban the sale of junk food and junk drinks’

 

The AoMRC’s Measuring Up report is available to download here: http://www.aomrc.org.uk/projects/obesity-steering-group.html