By Óné Chappy
TV soap Emmerdale’s characters have been slammed by health experts for portraying irresponsible lifestyles to their viewers.
The long-running soap opera filmed in Leeds has come under fire by health experts, accusing its characters of showcasing high levels of unhealthy eating, alcohol consumption and a lack of exercise.
The accusations come after a two week study carried out by students at the Liverpool John Moores University Business School.
From four of the UK’s most popular soaps – Coronation Street, EastEnders, and Hollyoaks, Emmerdale was the unhealthiest, with 79 per cent of all its food-related scenes featuring unhealthy eating and drinking.
ITV, who broadcast the programme said: “Emmerdale and Coronation Street aim to reflect modern life. Both programmes comply with the regulations set down by broadcasting regulator Ofcom.”
Co-operative Food, which funded the study to promote healthy eating, said they want the programme makers to present “a more balanced picture”.
There were only five exercise scenes broadcast across the soaps during the duration of the study.
Emmerdale characters Eric Pollard and Sandy Thomas have been heavily criticised for drinking regularly and in front of children.
The British Heart Foundation said that the show producers are putting the characters at an increased risk of on-screen heart attacks or strokes.
Doireann Maddock, Senior Cardiac Nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “If Eric Pollard wants to reduce his risk of that second heart attack, he needs to spend less time in the Woolpack and more time enjoying brisk walks around the Yorkshire Dales and a diet packed with fruit and veg.”
This is not the first time the soap has come under fire from health experts about characters’ lifestyle.
In 2008, a heart charity called for junk food to be banned from shows that are watched by children, including Emmerdale.
Health experts are worried that viewers are influenced by what they see on soaps and with an increase in childhood obesity, would prefer programme makers to be more vigilant about what examples they are setting.