Sadiq’s Sugar Coated Obesity Statistics Take the Biscuit

Sadiq Khan has spent the last 24 hours ferociously slapping himself on the back, supposedly for saving the NHS about £218 million by preventing 100,000 people becoming obese. How? By banning junk food advertising on the Tube. Truly a medical miracle.

Sadiq’s basing his unprecedented policy victory on a study published yesterday which, as Christopher Snowdon points out, features even more pie in the sky thinking than the last time Khan tried spinning this yarn:

“The authors claimed that London households ate 1,000 fewer calories of HFSS [foods high in fat, sugar or salt] after the ban. This wasn’t true in any sense. They could only pretend it was true by creating a ridiculous counterfactual in which consumption rose sharply for no reason if there hadn’t been a ban… It is a much, much greater calorie reduction than the Department of Health expect to be achieved from a nationwide pre-watershed broadcast advertising ban and a total online advertising ban combined.”

Not only did the researchers not bother to actually count the number of obese people in London – their figure is just based on half-baked theoretical modelling –  they also conveniently ignore that London was in lockdown for most of 2020… and child obesity has actually increased in the city since 2019. London has the highest rate of childhood obesity in the country…

Some food for thought, maybe. Meanwhile, here’s another statistic for the Mayor to chew on: last year was the worst on record for gun and knife crime in London, with 30 teenage homicides across the capital. In fact, just look at the crime rate per 1,000 population since 2016 – in other words, since Sadiq took office:

Still, at least he’s banned Big Mac adverts on the Central Line. Time for a slice of humble pie…

mdi-tag-outline Mayor of London
mdi-account-multiple-outline Sadiq Khan
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