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  1. ITV Report

'Cheap junk food' to blame for 'obesity crisis' in Wales

Wales has the highest childhood obesity rate among four and five-year-olds in Britain. Credit: PA

A leading cancer charity has warned that cheap junk food and price promotions are to blame for an "obesity crisis" in Wales.

According to Cancer Research UK around 1000 cases of cancer a year are the result of being overweight or obese. Wales also has the highest rate of childhood obesity among four and five-year-olds in Britain.

In a new study, the charity found "unhelpful and unhealthy" food deals encouraged consumers to buy more unhealthy products.

86%
said price deals offering extra items for free encourage people to buy unhealthy food.
68%
said temporary price reductions influenced them to buy junk food.

Mother of two, Jaimie Treharne from Ammanford lost four stone in four months after changing her eating habits. She says the Welsh government should do more to help people shop more healthily.

She said: “It’s shocking that Wales has such a big obesity problem and I know from experience that supermarket promotions on junk food play a big part." The 31-year-old said “Buy-one-get-one-free offers were one of the main reasons" she put on weight.

“I believe limiting the multibuy offers on food that’s high in fat will encourage families to make better choices and ultimately live healthier lives.”

Jaimie Treharne was a size 24 at her largest.

In response to the poll the Welsh Government said it aims to "promote a positive healthy lifestyle". A three-month public consultation into how an effective obesity strategy should be put in place is due to launch soon.

Our approach is to promote a positive healthy lifestyle throughout life, with an early focus on preventing overweight and obesity in childhood. We are committed to reducing levels of obesity and are considering a range of proposals for our approach to supporting people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

– Welsh Government Spokesperson

Andy Glyde from Cancer Research UK in Wales said "the Welsh Government has an opportunity and obligation to help people here stack the odds of not getting cancer in their favour". The charity called on officials to restrict cheap offers on junk food.