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UK Against Fluoridation

Monday, December 16, 2013

A 20% sugary drink tax would cut number of UK obese adults by 180,000

A 20% sugary drink tax would cut number of UK obese adults by 180,000
THE BMJ
As biggest consumers, under 30s likely to be most affected
Research: Overall and income specific effect on prevalence of overweight and obesity of 20% sugar sweetened drink tax in UK: econometric and comparative risk assessment modelling study
Editorial: A substantial tax on sugar sweetened drinks could help reduce obesity
A 20% tax on sugar sweetened drinks would reduce the number of UK adults who are obese by 180,000 (1.3%) and who are overweight by 285,000 (0.9%), suggests a study published on bmj.com today.
Although this is a relatively modest effect, people aged 16-29 years, as the major consumers of sugar sweetened drinks, would be impacted the most, say the authors.
Regular consumption of sugar sweetened drinks increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. The idea of a sugar sweetened drink tax as one way to reduce consumption and raise revenue is gaining traction in the UK, but its effect on health remains uncertain.

So researchers at the universities of Oxford and Reading set out to estimate the effect of a 20% tax on sugar sweetened drinks on obesity in the UK – and to understand the health effect on different income groups.
Using data from surveys of dietary purchases, the price of drinks, and body weight, they estimate that a 20% sales tax on sugar sweetened drinks would reduce the number of obese adults in the UK by 180,000 (1.3%) and the number who are overweight by 285,000 (0.9%).
The health gains would be similar across all income groups, but would decline with age. As the major consumers of sugar sweetened drinks, young people (under the age of 30 years) would experience the greatest reductions in obesity.
The tax would be expected to raise £276m (€326m; $442m) annually (around 8p per person per week) and would reduce consumption of sugar sweetened drinks by around 15%.

This revenue, say the authors, “could be used to increase NHS funding during a period of budget restrictions or to subsidise foods with health benefits, such as fruit and vegetables.”

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