A health official said that it is not fast food that is the main cause of obesity in UK... it's actually betting shops. A 2014 study conducted by the World Health Organization revealed that in the UK, 28% of adults are obese and 62% are either overweight or obese.
When asked how she would address the problem of obesity, Rachel Flowers, director of public health in Croydon (south London), said that she was concerned by the negative effect on people's diets and spending habits brought upon by betting shops. She believes that the root of this obesity epidemic is the street betting shops, which are 9,000+ in the nation.
She said that bookmakers "bleed the money out of people's pockets" leaving them unable to afford healthy food for themselves or their children.
She explained, "The evidence shows there isn't a significant causal link between lots of takeaways and obesity. There's a fixation around chicken shops but, for me, the thing that causes obesity is betting shops. Betting takes the money out of people's pockets. It means they have less money and time to prepare good food."
The director said that traditional cooking had become "a middle class profession" and a lot of people these days do not want to cook from scratch anymore.
However, she reiterated that she was far more concerned on betting shops when it comes to the well-being of the general public.
Despite her concerns, the public health director admitted there is not much the local authorities can do about the number of betting shops and takeaways on the streets, saying, "Sadly planning regulations don't allow us to close any takeaways or stop them from opening. For me it's about supply and demand. Fried chicken is cheap and it tastes good. Fast food outlets open because people use them. The way we stop them is for people to stop using them."
To implement a healthy lifestyle, she said councils must show people that there are many different ways they can access affordable, delicious, and less calorific kinds of food.
As for the betting shops, she said she knows it is a difficult issue, but promised to work closely with the health services and police in order to build a case, "It will take time but we can do something about it. Croydon now has a director of public health who wants to change the conversation, who wants to look at the levers we have at a local level."
The Association of British Bookmakers stated its shops set limits on what their players spend and that staff are committed to helping people gamble ‘responsibly and safely'.
The public health director may have a point, but some people believe that UK fixed-odds betting terminal stakes are actually very low, and if these machines can really leave punters with NO cash in their pockets, then the logical outcome would be that they will not be able to afford ANY KIND of food, let alone greasy fried chicken or fish and chips, which will eventually lead to a dramatic weight loss and a more slender physique.
What do you think? Do betting shops cause obesity for those who gamble?