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Tax on sugary drinks could help fix obesity crisis, say researchers

Adding 20% to the price would cut the number of obese adults dramatically, it is claimed.

Sugary drink

A tax on sugary drinks could help fix the UK's obesity crisis, a new study has suggested.

Leyla Hayes reports:

According to researchers writing in the prestigious British Medical Journal, adding 20% on to the price would cut the number of obese adults by nearly 200,000.

They claim it would also raise tens of millions of pounds.

Dr Oliver Mytton from Oxford University said: “Younger adults and children consume much greater quantities of sugary drinks.

“This is a concern for their health, not only in terms of diabetes and obesity, but also tooth decay.

“Our work suggests that a sugary drinks tax would have a much greater impact in terms of reducing obesity in younger adults.”

Critics have claimed the move would be would be “undeliverable” and instead urged action to be taken on aggressive marketing.

We debated the idea with Stephanie Liss, from the Institute of Economic Affairs, and Professor Alan Maryon-Davis of the Faculty of Public Health.

- NewsTalk Live debate:

Comments (3)

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  • Bee

    6 months ago


    If they claim they want to tax fizzy drinks in the hope that it will put people off buying them and therefore help reduce obesity, why are they predicting how much money it will generate for them? Obviously they realise that if people want to buy fizzy drinks they will, same as with alcohol and cigarettes. It's just another way to take money off joe public. How do they intend to use this extra revenue? Maybe they should spend their time trying to come up with ways of making fresh veg and fruit more affordable? But of course, they won't make money out of that will they?