Introducing a 20 per cent tax on sugary drinks could reduce obesity rates in the UK by around five per cent, a new report has claimed.
Putting on a little extra weight may be a sign that you are getting older, but becoming overweight or obese can have a significant impact on a person's health. It can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and research also suggests it can make it more likely that you will be diagnosed with certain types of cancer.
The report, published by Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum, has found that a 20 per cent tax could prevent 3.7 million people from becoming obese by 2025. It also predicts that the tax could save the NHS around £10 million in healthcare costs, if current obesity trends are to continue.
To try and reduce obesity's burden on society, Cancer Research UK has urged the government to introduce a tax on sugary drinks. In addition to this, the charity would like to see adverts for junk food banned before the 9pm watershed, and a strategy introduced with clear targets to further bring down the levels of fat and sugar in food.
Research has shown that the price of food has a significant impact on what people choose to buy, suggesting that introducing a sugar tax would discourage many from buying familiar products.
It is estimated that people consume twice the amount of sugar that is currently recommended, with 11 to 18 year olds drinking three times the amount and most of this coming from sugary drinks.
Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, said the ripple effect of a small sugar tax is "enormous".
"These numbers make it clear why we need to act now before obesity becomes an even greater problem," she stated.
Ms Cox said the government has the opportunity to help reduce the amount of sugar consumed by adults and children, giving future generations the best chance of a healthier life.
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