Doctors call for soft drink tax in attempts to halt obesityCurrent affairs
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AOMRC), which represents the majority of doctors in the UK, has called for further taxes on sugary, fizzy drinks in order to tackle high rates of obesity.
Doctors are requesting that the price of soft drinks be raised by at least 20% to go some way in combating the worrying levels of obesity in the UK.
Roughly a quarter of adults are classed as obese, with a third of children now leaving primary school overweight. This figure has been predicted to double by 2050.
Sugary drinks have come under fire due to the fact they contain a large number of calories, and health campaigners argue that a further tax being put on them would send “a powerful message”.
Charles Powell, Campaigns Director for the charity Sustain, said: “The only benefit of most sugary drinks to children and adults alike is the excess calories they provide, and that’s not a benefit because we actually have an obesity crisis in this country.”
After an inquest which lasted around a year, The AOMRC has drawn up a plan to reduce obesity in the UK. This plan includes the furthering of taxes on soft drinks and a limited number of fast food outlets being allowed to operate near schools and leisure centres, among other ideas.
Professor Terence Stephenson, chairman of the academy, said the report points out steps that need to be taken against obesity “before the problem becomes worse and the NHS can no longer cope”.
He said the 20% tax increase on soft drinks as part of this resolution was appropriate because they are “the ultimate bad food” full of “useless calories”.
This report has caused controversy. Gavin Partington, Director General at British Soft Drinks Association, was against this idea of raising soft drink taxes.
He said: “It is completely unfair to target one set of products like this. The truth is that obesity is a complex problem with many contributing factors.”
The Food and Drink Federation called the report a “damp squib” that added “little to an important debate”.