Saturday 17 December 2016

Sugar tax will help to 'cut childhood obesity'

Sugar tax

A proposed UK sugar tax on soft drinks is expected to be introduced in 2018.

"Sugary drinks tax 'will benefit children most'," BBC News reports. A new study, where researchers tried to estimate the impact of a sugar tax on soft drinks, found that it would help combat child obesity as well as tooth decay.

By modelling three scenarios the researchers found that the maximum health benefits would be seen if products were changed to contain less sugar. This option was estimated to help reduce obesity cases in the UK by around 150,000 per year, as well as reducing cases of tooth decay by 250,000.

However, these are estimates only, not certain effects. And changing the sugar content of sweetened drinks could only have such an effect on those who continue to consume high amounts of sugar through other dietary sources.

If you would like to reduce the amount of sugar you or your children consume through drinks, you don’t have to wait until 2018. You can simply swap sugary fizzy drinks or sugary squash for water, lower-fat milks, or sugar-free, diet and no added sugar drinks. And if you prefer to have fizzy drinks, try diluting fruit juice with sparkling water.

The study was carried out by researchers from a number of institutions, including the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine. No sources of funding were reported.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal The Lancet.

This study has been widely, and generally accurately, reported in the UK media, providing the main findings of the study. The Guardian also tries to add some balance by providing quotes from Gavin Partington of The British Soft Drinks Association. "The problem with this modelling is that it is based on the flawed concept that obesity can simply be attributed to calorie or sugar intake per se and consumption of one product in particular, rather than overall lifestyle and diet."

He went on to say: "This error is plain to see given that sugar intake from soft drinks has been declining for several years now, down 17% since 2012. There is no evidence worldwide that a tax on soft drinks has had an impact on levels of obesity."



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