Labour MP Keith Vaz has taken his widely-praised anit-diabetes campaign all the way to the Houses of Commons.
The Leicester East MP opened the questions during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday by appealing to Prime Minister David Cameron to lend his support to ‘Action on Sugar’, a new initiative launched this week to combat obesity and lower sugar in processed foods.
Mr Vaz has championed both causes since being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2000 and has worked tirelessly, particularly through the Silver Star charity to raise awareness about the disease.
Speaking on Wednesday, Mr Vaz also challenged David Cameron to give up sugar for one day this week.
“Will you meet with a delegation of health experts to discuss this issue and can we enlist your support in the war on sugar by asking you to give up sugar and sugary drinks for one day this week?” he said.
“I’m sure that would have the support of Mrs Cameron,” the PM responded.
Mr Vaz’s comments come on the back of startling obesity statistics. Around half of all adults are considered “overweight” – and nearly a quarter obese – by body mass index.
Action on Sugar called the sweet stuff as dangerous as alcohol or tobacco, and have called on the food industry to cut 30 per cent of it from processed food, shaving 100 calories off a person’s daily intake.
Mr Vaz has also been spurred on by the issue of diabetes within the British Asian community, a problem campaigners have described as a “time-bomb”.
People from South Asia are six times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than the white members of the UK population, and they are likely to develop it ten years earlier.
It is feared that widespread ignorance about the disease threatens the lives of tens of thousands in the UK.