‘Good luck taking my McDonald’s away at 3am’: Top UK doctor’s call to ban food on trains & buses sparks social media backlash

A train passes an advertisement for a food delivery company at Green Park underground station in London © Reuters / Toby Melville / Free

The UK’s outgoing chief medical officer has urged the government to ban food and drink on trains and buses in a bid to tackle child obesity, provoking outrage online from those who are against state intervention on such an issue.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, who stood down from her role last week, makes the recommendation in a report published on Thursday as one of the ways to meet the UK government’s pledge to half child obesity by 2030.

Professor Davies contends that ministers have a “moral responsibility” to reverse the epidemic. On the issue of a proposed ban for trains and buses she cites Japan as an example of where it’s been introduced.

Japan, which is one of the least overweight of the rich nations, they don’t allow snacking and eating on local transport.

It’s safe to say the suggestion hasn’t gone down well on social media, with many people mocking the idea that the state could remove their right to eat and drink on public transport.

One person joked: “Good luck trying to take a McDonalds away from me at 3am…” While another ranted: “You can sod off if you think the state can ban me eating what I want when I want.”

Others believe that such a suggestion demonstrates how out of touch those in power are with the lives of ordinary people working “nights in bars, the railways, warehouses” – individuals who struggle to find an appropriate place to eat in the early hours.

Professor Davies claims that a “snacking, grazing existence” has infiltrated British lifestyles, where “portions have got bigger” and marketing of junk food is persuasive.

In her report, she calls for a cap on takeaway portion sizes, cigarette-style plain packaging for junk food and new taxes on “unhealthy” products to “reset” the UK’s eating habits.

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