A taxing issue: A duty on sugary drinks will protect England’s health finds new research

A taxing issue: A duty on sugary drinks will protect England’s health finds new research

New research published today finds that the introduction of a 20% duty on sugary drinks would have a major impact on the health of England’s population.

The research, conducted on behalf of Food Active (a North West based healthy weight campaign) by public health researcher Brendan Collins and colleagues. Published in the PLOS One journal, it indicates that the introduction of a 20% duty on sugary drinks could lead to:

  • Approximately 2,400 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes.
  • Some 1,700 fewer cases of stroke and coronary heart disease.
  • Around 400 fewer cases of cancer.
  • A gain of approximately 40,000 Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) per year.
  • A reduction in calorie intake across England with the biggest change in Newham (7.1 kcals per person per day) and the smallest expected change in West Somerset (5.9 kcals per person per day).

Brendan Collins, author of the research, said:

“Survey data show that consumption of sugary drinks has progressively increased since the late 1980s in the UK. Teenagers in particular are the biggest consumers of these drinks.”

“Overconsumption of these drinks can lead to obesity and obesity-related diseases. It is therefore crucial that we consider effective fiscal measures such as a 20% duty to combat this rise in consumption. This study adds to the growing body of evidence demonstrating health benefits for a sugary drinks duty.”

Robin Ireland, Director of Food Active, said:

“At Food Active we see a duty on sugary drinks as a key measure in the fight against obesity. Taxes on sugary drinks have now been successfully implemented in a number of US states as well as in France, Hungary, Norway, Denmark, Samoa and Mexico. It’s time for the UK to rapidly follow suit, for the sake of our health.”

Prof. Simon Capewell, a co-author in the study, said:

“Here is important evidence that a sugary drinks tax could save lives and money. Sugary drinks taxes have been successful in many countries. In Mexico, sugary drinks taxes have rapidly reduced consumption by an impressive 10% overall, and even more in deprived households. Jamie Oliver is leading the way in his British restaurants. When will the UK government also take this very effective action?”

Click here to read the full study (PDF).


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