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UK doctors call for tax on sugary drinks to help tackle obesity

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Staff writer ▼ | July 13, 2015
Doctors in the United Kingdom have joined in the call for a tax on sugar, saying a 20p levy on sugary drinks would be a "useful first step" towards the long-term goal of reducing obesity.
UK obesity soft drinks
Obesity   The British Medical Association
The British Medical Association (BMA) said imposing the tax could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people, Herald Scotland reports.

Yet critics have argued the evidence for the levy is not as "compelling" as the BMA suggests and a so-called "Irn-Bru" tax was not the way forward.

Recent figures show that one in three adults in Scotland are thought to be obese, while one in three children are also at risk, and cost economy £145 every second and drain the NHS of up to £600 million annually.

The report's author, BMA's board of science chairwoman Professor Sheila Hollins, said: "While sugar-sweetened drinks are very high in calories they are of limited nutritional value and when people in the UK are already consuming far too much sugar, we are increasingly concerned about how they contribute towards conditions like diabetes.

"We know from experiences in other countries that taxation on unhealthy food and drinks can improve health outcomes, and the strongest evidence of effectiveness is for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

If a tax of at least 20 per cent is introduced, it could reduce the prevalence of obesity in the UK by around 180,000 people."

You can read the whole story here.