Obesity health expert says meal offerings should be banned from supermarkets

One obesity expert said supermarket meal offerings should be “illegal”.

Dr Donal O’Shea, Clinical Lead for the Health Service Executive (HSE), made the remarks on The Pat Kenny Show on Wednesday (May 11) and suggested that store employees are ‘trained’ to try to sell snacks to customers.

O’Shea urged the public to be ‘super aware’ of supermarket tactics to try to get customers to buy more.

O’Shea was discussing the recent warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) that obesity has reached “epidemic proportions” across Europe.

One obesity expert said supermarket meal offerings should be
One obesity expert said supermarket meal offerings should be “illegal”. credit: alamy

During the show, Kenny noted that a listener said a sandwich and a soft drink at his local supermarket cost €4.55 (£3.80), but when adding a bag of chips to the purchase, the price drops to €3, 99 (£3.40). ).

According to JOE, O’Shea said in response: “Literally, this should be illegal. The people who are in the supermarkets – the workers in the supermarkets and at the gas stations – are trained to offer this special offer.”

He added: “And 70% of people will say no the first time, but if the person behind the counter says ‘you sure are, it’s a good offer’. Then another 30% will say ‘oh yes, continue’.”

O’Shea continued, “They’re really trained because the industry has the statistics and they know how to stimulate and they know how to promote consumption. We just have to be super aware of it and try to resist it.”

The WHO released a major report earlier this month that revealed that obesity is responsible for 200,000 cases of cancer and 1.2 million deaths a year in Europe.

The WHO revealed that obesity is responsible for 200,000 cases of cancer in Europe.  credit: alamy
The WHO revealed that obesity is responsible for 200,000 cases of cancer in Europe. credit: alamy

The WHO study also revealed that no country was on track to meet the noncommunicable disease (NCD) target of halting the rise in obesity by 2025.

The report noted: “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 meet the target of halting the rise in obesity by 2025.”

He continued: “Across the WHO European region, obesity is likely to be directly responsible for at least 200,000 new cases of cancer annually, with this number projected to increase in the coming decades.

“For some countries in the region, obesity is predicted to overtake smoking as the leading risk factor for preventable cancer.”

Of the report, O’Shea said: “We are starting to see the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on youth weight patterns.

“We have a kind of population separation. About 2% of the population is super fit, has abs and bodies to die for.

“And the rest of us fell into what are now 65% overweight or obese adults, and unfortunately, childhood statistics haven’t improved.”

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