Dame Sally Davies, the outgoing Chief Medical Officer, has made a proposal to the government which would effectively ban eating on public transport in the UK.
A ban on food on public transport and an extension of the sugar tax are among radical proposals by the outgoing chief medical officer in her “fight against childhood obesity”.
In her final report before stepping down from the role, Professor Dame Sally Davies warns the government is set to miss its target of halving obesity in children unless it takes bolder steps, including stricter regulations on food companies that target children.
Dame Sally wants to see the tax on sugary drinks to be extended to milk drinks with added sugar, as well as consideration from ministers for plain packaging for unhealthy foods.
This news has caused huge concern in the diabetes community. Treating a hypo is a regular occurrence for most people living with diabetes. A commute to and from work, alongside other uses of public transport can result in many hours on buses, trains and trams. Sometimes a hypoglycemic episode can strike on a journey and it is essential that the low blood glucose is treated quickly.
That fact seems to have escaped Dame Sally in her latest offering to the government despite almost 500,000 people living with Type 1 Diabetes in the UK, many of them working age and regular users of public transport.
Many PWDs took to social media to vent their concerns, with leading HCPs also expressing their disagreement:
Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who commissioned the report, said: “Professor Dame Sally Davies has done more than anyone to promote the health of the nation over a decade as CMO. Her parting report is no different and we will study it closely and act on the evidence.”
The Labour Party has also welcomed the report, with Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth saying: “Labour has led the way in demanding a ban on junk food advertising before the watershed and on extending the sugar tax.
“But over a year since the obesity plan was published, the government continues to do nothing but window dress their commitment to child obesity.”
It appears that people with diabetes have been entirely overlooked in this report. Food is a medicine, especially for people with Type 1 Diabetes, and we at DiaNews hope the incoming CMO is more considerate to those trying to manage the condition each day.