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Easter eggs are ‘fuelling obesity crisis because shops sell them too early’

This article was taken from: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/29/easter-eggs-fuelling-obesity-crisis-shops-sell-early/

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Shops are being urged to stop putting Easter eggs on sale so early, as health chiefs warn that one in four consumers has already eaten a whole one.

Charities said increasingly aggressive sales tactics were fuelling the global obesity crisis, and leaving parents at the mercy of pester power for months on end.

The Royal Society of Public Health found that with more than three weeks to go until Easter Sunday, 50 per cent of the public have already bought and eaten at least one themed chocolate treat and 23 per cent have already eaten at least one full-sized chocolate egg.

More than three-quarters of the public think supermarkets are selling Easter confectionery too early, the survey of 2,000 adults suggests.

And more than two-thirds of people surveyed think retailers use holidays or special occasions too much to advertise and sell unhealthy food, with 38 per cent claiming that their diet is less healthy than normal when supermarkets push seasonal products.

Some 57 per cent of parents said their child has been tempted by Easter-themed treats displayed near checkouts.

Two in three adults in the UK are overweight or obese, with obesity rates now the highest in Western Europe. And one in three children are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

The average Easter egg contains almost three-quarters of an adult’s recommended daily calorie intake, the RSPH said.

Shirley Cramer, the charity’s chief executive said: “We recognise that special occasions such as Easter are a time for indulgence and treats. However, it is clear that many shops and supermarkets are pushing products way too early – it isn’t uncommon to find Easter eggs on sale in the first week of January.

“Our research suggests that the public find this mildly irritating and it is just putting unnecessary temptation out there, particularly for children.

“If supermarkets are serious about tackling the obesity epidemic, we would urge retailers to change their marketing strategies in the interest of the public’s health.”

Populus surveyed 2,000 UK adults between March 22 and 24 – more than a month before Easter Sunday.

Louise Meincke, head of policy at the World Cancer Research Fund, said: “Advertising and selling Easter eggs weeks, and sometimes even months, in advance of the holiday is just another tactic used by industry to encourage people to make unhealthy choices. This is unacceptable during the current global obesity crisis.

“We want the Government to lead the way by implementing policies that make our daily environments healthier. This would help parents give their children the best start in life by reducing their risk of cancer and other health conditions associated with obesity.”