- The Washington Times - Friday, May 11, 2018

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is under fire once again for prioritizing a ban on junk food advertising for the city’s transportation network while citizens grapple with a spate of stabbings.

A flood of negative social-media feedback greeted Mr. Khan on Friday as he unveiled a “package of measures” aimed at curbing childhood obesity. The policy was touted as a “great example” by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but panned in Mr. Khan’s Twitter feed.

“London has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in Europe, with 40% of children aged 10 & 11 overweight or obese,” Mr. Khan tweeted. “As part of a package of measures in our new London Food Strategy — we’re proposing to ban harmful junk food ads from the entire Transport for London network.”

Some of the immediate reactions included:

  • “Meanwhile, knife crime, shootings and you highlight obesity! Unreal.”
  • And also one of the highest knife crime. What are you going to do about that Mr Khan?”
  • “We also have a really high knife crime rate! Deal with the immediate issue at hand! Increase Stop and Search!”
  • Glad to see your priority is right for the youth of today: death by burger.”
  • “I’d want to be a lean London kid so I could run faster from all the other kids with knives.”

Mr. Khan elicited similar criticism in April after announcing de facto knife control measures as a means of dealing with surging murder rates.

SEE ALSO: Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, bans ads with ‘unrealistic’ bodies

BBC reported “between eight and 15 ‘knife crimes with injury’ on average each day in London.”

“Obesity has become a global epidemic, and children face a lifetime of health problems unless we take bolder steps to confront it,” countered Mr. Bloomberg via Twitter on Friday. “@MayorofLondon’s plan to ban junk food ads on the @TfL network sets a great example that other cities can learn from.”

London’s ad ban would prohibit companies like McDonald’s from promoting hamburgers, although images featuring salads would be allowed.

“Although adverts for full-sugar Coca-Cola would no longer be accepted under the plans, Diet Coke ads could still run,” added the U.K. Guardian.

Mr. Khan added that ignoring obesity concerns would be like turning a blind eye to a “ticking time bomb,” the newspaper reported.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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