UN official says junk food just as harmful as cigarettes

By Michelle Kapusta,

On Monday, a United Nations official gave his take on how harmful he believes junk food is and why governments must act quickly to tax and regulate it.

According to Reuters, Olivier de Schutter issued a statement at the World Health Organization and compared the dangers of junk food to that of tobacco.

"Unhealthy diets are now a greater threat to global health than tobacco. Just as the world came together to regulate the risks of tobacco, a bold framework convention on adequate diets must now be agreed," he said.

TIME reported that Dr. Schutter, who is the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, said that the world has not taken obesity seriously enough in the two years since his nutrition report.

The Belgian professor suggested that a tax be applied to unhealthy foods and regulations be placed on products that are high in saturated fat and sugars. He also said that there should be a crackdown on junk food advertising, much like tobacco ads and that consumers should support local food production so that they have access to healthy alternatives.



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