CCBY Open access
Research

Associations between exposure to takeaway food outlets, takeaway food consumption, and body weight in Cambridgeshire, UK: population based, cross sectional study

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1464 (Published 13 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1464

Re: Associations between exposure to takeaway food outlets, takeaway food consumption, and body weight in Cambridgeshire, UK: population based, cross sectional study

Burgoine et al pointed the finger at unhealthy take-aways a year ago. Today's Guardian, page 9 carries a report by Dennis Campbell on "Britain's unhealthiest streets". It is based on a report from the Royal Society for Public Health. In brief, "more high streets are being overtaken ( sic ) by tanning salons, take-aways, bookmakers.....

Those who have lived long enough will recall that fish and chip shops used to be the only fast-food outlets. Then came Chinese take-aways, then "Indian" (read Sylheti) take-aways, then delivered pizzas.

Every local authority has, naturally, a passion for small businesses. Our local and national governments seem to believe in a totally unregulated free for all.

Health education is fine. But unless governments encourage people to cook (make it profitable for corner shops to sell uncooked meat and vegetables), restrict the shelf space of supermarkets given over to ready meals, indeed impose punitive taxes on ready foods (yes, even on Cornish pasties), subsidise uncooked vegetables, restrict the numbers of fast food outlets to, say, city centres, bus stops, railway stations, there is little likelihood of people being encouraged to cook healthy food.

Every local authority has a director of public health. Have any of these authorities asked the DPH to inspect, assess, advise on such unhealthy "facilities" for "busy" workers? I suspect not.

Competing interests: Rarely I eat fish and chips. Yesterday was such a " blue moon" event.

26 March 2015
JK Anand
Retired doctor
Free spirit
Peterborough