The Coca-Cola truck should be banned from Liverpool this Christmas amid concerns about obesity levels, according to the leader of Lib Dems in the city.
Councillor Richard Kemp has written to bosses at the Liverpool One shopping district arguing that the truck encourages consumption of an unhealthy product, the Liverpool Echo reports.
“I believe that the visit by Coca-Cola should not take place,” Kemp says. “You only have to look around you to see that Liverpool is in the grip of an obesity epidemic - 30 per cent of our 11 years olds are obese with about five per cent being clinically obese.
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“Up to 60 per cent of our adults are obese and many of them clinically obese - we must take action to deal with this because the consequences are alarming.”
Kemp believes the annual Christmas truck’s visit is a “cynical event.”
“It is not designed to welcome Christmas but to increase the consumption of a product that is grossly unhealthy,” he said.
“10 per cent of all hospital beds are occupied by people with type 2 diabetes. All of which is avoidable if people were to eat and drink properly and take enough exercise.”
A spokesman for Coca-Cola Great Britain told the BBC it had received a “positive response from many people in Liverpool” during previous visits.
He added: “People will have the opportunity to see the truck up close, have their photograph taken and enjoy a choice of a small, 150ml can of Coca-Cola Classic or one of our no sugar options, Diet Coke or Coca-Cola Zero Sugar.”
Coca-Cola’s Christmas truck was criticised last year by leading public health expert professor John Ashton for bringing people “gifts of bad teeth and weight problems.”
However, “many people see the twinkling red truck as a symbol of festive cheer, with many members of the public arguing that in a season of indulgence, drinking one extra 150ml can of Coca-Cola doesn’t make a huge difference”, says The Independent.
Data released in November last year from the National Child Measurement Programme for England showed that nearly one in five 10 to 11-year-olds was obese in the last academic year, with more than one in three (34.2%) now described as overweight or obese.
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