THE chief medical officer for Wales has attacked food companies and their links with sport.
Dr Tony Jewell said the links between fast food and fizzy drinks with obesity were as clear as tobacco’s links to deaths fromcancer and respiratory diseases.
Dr Jewell said: “As McDonald’s prepares to open its largest restaurant in the world in the heart of the Olympic Park and sponsors Coca-Cola ramp up their advertising campaigns, I want us to consider the links between sports events, brands that promote fast food and drink, and our eating habits.
Tobacco advertising is now unthinkable in sporting events and the links between tobacco and deaths from cancer and respiratory disease are clear.
Similarly, many countries prevent alcohol advertising in sport.
“In Wales, we are eating too much processed food, high in fat, sugar and salt, and drinking too many fizzy drinks. I believe the links between regular high-level consumption of these and obesity are also clear.”
In Dr Jewell’s annual report, published this week, he states that more than half the population of Wales are overweight, or obese, and a third do no or very little physical activity. He said he would like to see fast food advertising at sporting events banned.
Hesaid: “Top athletes do not succeed by consuming burgers, chips and cola, or binge drinking. Like smoking, they do nothing to improve sporting prowess, and consumed regularly, contribute to obesity and related health problems.”
A Coca-Cola spokeswoman said: “We believe all of our drinks can be enjoyed as part of an active, healthy lifestyle that includes a sensible, balanced diet and regular physical activity.”
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said: “We recognise that public health issues like obesity are complex matters that cannot be solved by governments or companies alone.
“Ultimately it’s up to individuals to make the right food, drink, and activity choices for themselves and our broad range of menu options in a variety of sizes, together with the nutrition information, means customers can make more informed choices.”