The controversial sugar tax has been making headlines recently, based on a report released by Public Health England which recommends that a tax of around 10-15% on sugary products would help to tackle the nation’s obesity problem.
There is little doubt that as a nation we are getting bigger, and health problems associated with obesity such as diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay are becoming major issues for the health services and those employed in dietetic jobs.
The introduction of a sugar tax would help to curb our spending on sugary foods, which would help to lower sugar consumption, according to the report by Public Health England. The NHS believes that a sugar tax would help to save lives from weight-related diseases, slash tooth decay and even save the NHS £576 million each year.
As well as introducing a sugar tax, Public Health England has put forward seven other recommendations to tackle obesity. According to The Guardian, this includes cracking down on the marketing of unhealthy products for kids and reducing the number of price promotions in supermarkets on sugary food and drinks. Other recommendations include lowering the amount of sugar in everyday food and drink, and making sure that healthier foods are available in hospitals and other public places. Officials want to see sugar consumption down to less than 5%, while currently the average person obtains between 12 and 15% of their energy from sugar.
There is already mounting evidence that a sugar tax could work. According to the BBC, Mexico, which has already employed a sugar tax of 10%, has seen a drop in sale of sugary drinks by 6%. Health experts even consider excess sugar to be as harmful as tobacco, and since we accept having a taxation on tobacco, introducing a tax on sugar should become as equally acceptable.
Although many health officials, including the British Medical Association and even famous names such as TV chef Jamie Oliver are all in favour for introducing a sugar tax, the government is not willing to implement the tax any time soon. It has been reported that David Cameron has not even read the report published by Public Health England, and does not see the need for such a tax. What is certain, however, is that tackling the nation’s sugar problem is a priority, whether a tax is implemented or not.