Sugar Tax Recommended on Beverages in UK to Curb Childhood Obesity

Published Date : Nov 30, 2015

British lawmakers on Monday reportedly stepped up pressure on the UK government to set a 20 per cent tax on sugar sweetened beverages after a publication reported that childhood obesity is linked to the easy availability of unhealthy foods and drinks. In the past, the government had reportedly refused to levy such a tax.

The parliamentary health committee in the United Kingdom noted that steps to improve food environment in the country must be taken in order to address childhood obesity. This called for rigorous controls on the price promotions of unhealthy drinks such as sugary beverages, and food items as well. According to a Reuters report, treatments associated with obesity cost the health service run by the state an estimated US$ 7.65 billion or 5.1 billion pounds on an annual basis. The report also indicated that a quarter of all kids from poor families suffered from obesity by the time they graduate primary school. This is twice the rate among kids in rich households. 

A Conservative party law maker and head of the health committee Sarah Wollaston told the Guardian that contrary to what industry lobbyists claim, this is not an attack on families who belong to the low income brackets but rather an attempt to reverse the negative effect that these products have caused.

The Reuters report came a month after the Public Health England reviewed the conditions in the country. Public Health England is the nation’s primary public health organization and also supported various similar measures. The Reuters report also cited data from a study of Mexico, wherein a 10 per cent tax was levied on sugary beverages in 2013 and this resulted in a reduction of 6 per cent in the consumption of these sugar sweetened drinks.