Cancer Research UK faced some difficulty over their campaign adverts, which described obesity as a major cause of cancer after smoking. A great many were upset by the campaign, believing that it had set out to ‘fat-shame’ individuals by suggesting that obesity is easily preventable.
Controversy also arose among medical experts and nutritionists who hold divided opinions on the scientific evidence suggesting the link between obesity and cancer. According to one of the CRUK’s studies, “being overweight or obese is linked to 13 different types of cancer.”
Speaking on the campaign, President of UEA Beat society, Bethany Hedges, said that “whilst it’s creating awareness of the causes of cancers, it’s also making the public aware of obesity as a more well-known eating disorder.”
She also expressed that “whilst there are healthy options” for students buying and consuming food on campus “the majority of food options would be considered more unhealthy and I believe the choices of food students make can be heavily dependent on their self-esteem and body confidence.”
Comparing the food products available in the SU shop and hot foods served on campus with other supermarkets, however, Chair of Cancer Studies, Dylan Edwards, does not think “the university is any more an enabler than Co-op, Tesco and Waitrose.”
An excerpt from the Campus Kitchen business plan shared with Concrete reveals an extensive variety of food combinations. Priority is given to healthy eating and ‘medicinal foods’ as well as a push for ‘100 calorie snacks’. Within the ‘Trending Foods and Flavour Profiles’, food from different cuisines such as Mediterranean, Mexican and Japanese are available as well as ‘nostalgia foods’ including cottage pie and macaroni and cheese, and foods such as pizza and pasta are served with attention to portion sizes.
Gavin Yuill, Head of Catering and Hospitality at UEA shares Dylan Edwards’ sentiments: “I do feel it is important to state that UEA caterers have an obligation to provide healthy options – it is our customers’ responsibility to select wisely.”
With the recent sugar tax on soft drinks now in force in the UK, Yuill also suggests that it will be “interesting to monitor sales to understand what, if any, impact it has on UEA sales volumes of high-sugar drinks.”