SNP Seeks EU Ban On Junk Food Ads - Lib Dems Fail To Support Bid

01 February 2007
European proposals to tackle childhood obesity and unhealthy diets havebeen welcomed by SNP MEP Alyn Smith and his colleague Ian Hudghton.

In Brussels today the two SNP MEPs voted in favour of a European Commission anti-obesity strategy including special measures to tackle childhood obesity. But both expressed disappointment that Conservative and Liberal MEPs joined forces to defeat a series of amendments from the SNP's parliamentary group to restrict the marketing of junk foods to children.

SNP Europe Spokesman Alyn Smith MEP said:

"The SNP is committed to dealing with the challenges of childhood obesity and our support these European proposals underlines that. It's widely recognised that being obese during childhood can contribute toa range of health problems later in life such as heart disease, diabetes and depression. We have alarming childhood obesity rates in Scotland and it's imperative that we tackle this at an early age. The SNP is committed to halting the sell off of school playing fields, introducing annual health checks and nutritious school meals for all.

"I'm disappointed to see the Lib Dems and the Tories backing away from aban on junk food advertising to children and I hope the European Commission, Parliament and Scotland will push forward regardless of their lack of support."

Speaking after the vote in Brussels, SNP President Ian Hudghton said:

"Obesity, particularly amongst children, is a very serious problem withlong term health risks and I'm pleased to see Europe taking action on this.

"We need to see more co-operation at EU level to restrict the marketing of junk food to children and to encourage the use of health local produce in school meals. For that reason I find the actions of some Conservative and Liberal members in today's vote absolutely bizarre. They seem to be putting junk food industry profits before children's health.

"Childhood obesity has long been recognised as a serious problem in Scotland with rates running at twice the UK average. The Scottish Executive has failed miserably to deal with this, and future generations will suffer unless action is taken now. We have published a number of policies which an SNP government will implement in Scotland after May to help deal with this issue."

Notes

The European Parliament meeting in Brussels voted in favour of the European Commission Strategy "Promoting Healthy Diets and Physical Activity" which sets out a number of measures to tackle obesity,particularly in schools and through EU wide action to tackle the decline in fruit and vegetable consumption.Conservative and Liberal MEPs (and some Labour) joined forces to defeat a series of amendments from the SNP's parliamentary group designed to curb the deliberate marketing of junk food to children.