Calls for fizzy drinks to be more expensive in restaurants to tackle childhood obesity crisis

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FIZZY drinks should be made even more expensive in a bid to curb childhood obesity, leading docs are advising.

In an attempt to get British kids to slim down, health bosses are planning to step up measures to make sugary pop increasingly hard to get hold of.

It's time to stop kids from getting their hands on fizzy drinks - maybe by raising the price
It’s time to stop kids from getting their hands on fizzy drinks – maybe by raising the price
Alamy

Pop is believed to be one of the driving forces behind the UK’s obesity epidemic.

Cochrane, an international organisation of health experts, has produced its latest review looking at ways which science has found to be effective in cutting consumption.

It’s time to up the price

Experts from the UK and Germany looked at 58 studies involving more than one million participants.

Most of the studies lasted a year and were conducted in schools, stores or restaurants.

And they concluded that the best way to get kids to give up sugary drinks was to increase their price, promote healthier drinks in supermarkets, get rid of all sugary pop in schools and use easier-to-understand nutritional labels.

The sugar tax isn’t enough

The calls come after the government introduced a sugar tax to try to deter people from buying pop.

The sugar tax came into force on April 6, 2018 and saw a standard can of regular Coke go up by around 8p for a 70p can.

A 1.75ml bottle of coke has increased from roughly £1.25 to £1.49.

Sugar-free versions such as Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Zero are not subject to the tax.

Local government needs to do more

Commenting on the findings, Cllr Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “More than a year since the soft drinks industry levy was introduced, manufacturers have cut the amount of sugar in their products while hundreds of millions of pounds have been raised in revenue to promote healthy eating in schools and tackle child obesity.

“However, as this report demonstrates, more can and should be done by the soft drinks industry to improve customer choice, such as better labelling and providing healthier alternatives.”

The 8 recommendations from Cochrane

Experts found that some measures have been proven to help people cut down on the fizz.

They include:

▪ Labels which are easy to understand, such as traffic-light labels, and labels which rate the healthfulness of beverages with stars or numbers

▪ Limits to the availability of fizzy drinks in schools (e.g. replacing with water in school cafeterias)

▪ Price increases in restaurants, stores and leisure centres

▪ Children’s menus in chain restaurants which include healthier beverages as their standard beverage

▪ Promotion of healthier beverages in supermarkets

▪ Government food benefits (e.g. food stamps) which cannot be used to buy them

▪ Community campaigns focused on fizzy drinks

▪ Measures that improve the availability of low-calorie beverages at home, e.g. through home deliveries of bottled water and diet beverages

They also said that the more freely available water both in public and at home could help people to lose weight.

He said that some energy and sports drinks have up to nearly 17 teaspoons of sugar in a 500 ml bottle – more than twice the daily allowance for adults.

“What is needed is a universal adoption of a labelling system which provides an instant ‘at-a-glance’ understanding of sugar content,” he continued.

“Raising awareness of the amount of sugar in food and drink while giving families a more informed choice is crucial if we are to make a vital breakthrough in the fight against tooth decay and obesity.”

Kids are at risk

This week, a study found that fat four-year-olds are twice as likely to have high blood pressure by the age of six – raising their risk of heart attack and stroke.

One in five kids in England is overweight or obese when they start primary school, rising to one in three by the time they leave, figures show.

So it’s obvious that we need to do something ASAP to curb the rise.

Sugar can put you at risk of heart disease

We know that too much sugar isn’t good for us and regular pop is packed full of the stuff.

Coke, for example, contains 35g or seven teaspoons of sugar – that’s 5g more than an adult’s recommended daily sugar intake in one can!

And with the number of kids weighing in as obese, nixing the fizz is a pretty good place to start.

The British Heart Foundation warns that diets high in these kinds of free sugars can have a detrimental impact on our heart health.

A 2015 review of carbohydrates and health from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition showed that diets high in sugar tend to be high in calories, and the associated weight gain can have an impact on your heart.

With two in three Brits now being overweight or obese, which increases your risk of heart and circulatory diseases.


It also increases your chances of developing high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes – risk factors for heart and circulatory diseases.

If you’re a healthy weight, you might think you don’t need to worry about sugar – that’s not true.

And that’s especially the case for kids.


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