Recommendations to put an extra 20 per cent tax on sugary drink to prevent people becoming obese were put forward by the BMA (British Medical Association) recently. But will anything change? Recommendations come out all the time but do they get taken up. The BMA claims that poor diets cost 70,000 premature deaths a year.
The BMA suggests an extra tax of 20 per cent on unhealthy food and drinks. A 330ml fizzy drink is likely to contain up to nine teaspoonfuls of sugar. Apparently a sugar tax on drinks in Mexico has resulted in lower consumption. The overall aim is to reduce the number of people becoming obese and getting diabetes, which are both attributed to the increase in sugar consumption, which is highest in the 11 to 18 year old group. They take 15.6 per cent of their energy from sugar, when the limit for everyone should be 5 per cent.
There should be restrictions on promoting unhealthy foods to children through advertising and fun characters. Instead they suggest that there should be marketing campaigns to promote awareness and the importance of healthy foods. Other suggestions are for school meals to include a free fruit and vegetable scheme, and for the price of fruit and vegetables to be subsidised.
How many times have you visited a hospital and found the full range of fizzy drinks, crisps, sweets and chocolate on sale in the shop? The recommendations suggest banning these sales, and having a traffic light coding on food.
Other recommendations include:
• No trans fats in food allowed.
• Compulsory reduction of salt levels in food and drink products.
• Targets to reduce calories, fat, saturated fat and added sugar levels in a range of soft drinks, confectionery, biscuits, and many other processed foods.
Needless to say this needs international co-operation.
Dire warnings from the British Medical Association include the spectre of 30 per cent of the UK population being obese by 2030.