Sugar drinks

Sugary drinks tax could drastically reduce obesity in young people

By: Information Daily Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, October 31, 2013 - 11:31 GMT Jump to Comments

Implementing a tax of 20 per cent on sweetened drinks could help reduce obesity among thousands of young people in the UK, says leading healthcare research.

A new study published today on the BMJ has found that the introduction of a drinks tax would reduce consumption of sugary drinks by an estimated 15 per cent.

Contributing towards a reduction in weight gain, this tax would mainly affect the under 30's who are most at risk as regular consumers. 

Researchers from the universities of Oxford and Reading have said, "taxation of sugar sweetened drinks is a promising measure to target population obesity, particularly among younger adults”.

Regular consumption of sugary, sweetened drinks has been proven to contribute towards obesity, tooth decay and in extreme cases diabetes. 

But this study has gone a long way in providing real data which supports evidence that a drinks tax will not only reduce consumption but will have real health benefits for people living unhealthy lifestyles. 

In addition to the health benefits there are economic benefits as well, with revenue predicted to grow by up to £276 million a year.

This revenue could be used to "increase NHS funding during a period of budget restrictions or to subsidise foods with health benefits, such as fruit and vegetables”, say researchers.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges says a pilot scheme led by the UK would be "a good start" to measuring the effects of such a price increase and would contribute towards the possibility of real policy change.

Assistant Professor of Harvard Medical School, Jason Block, has predicted the results of such a pilot could also have a profound effect on the rest of the world's attitude to unhealthy product consumption.

Block has called on more countries “to implement high taxes and measure the results” among populations suffering from obesity epidemics.

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