I know that the Government currently has no plans to introduce a ‘sugar tax’. However, I can assure you that the Government is committed to reducing obesity in the UK and its impact on public health.
Tackling childhood obesity is a major priority for this Government as it is concerned about the levels of overweight and obese children, and the impact on individual health.
1 in 10 children entering primary school are obese and the figure is the same for children leaving primary school. The causes of obesity are complex, and can be caused by a number of dietary, lifestyle, environmental and genetic factors and addressing it will require a comprehensive and broad approach. We all have a role to play in getting our children to be more active and to eat more healthily. The Government is considering a range of options including the contribution that it, alongside industry, families, schools and communities can make. Plans for tackling childhood obesity will be announced in the coming months; it is thought in the New Year.
My personal view is taxation as a blunt tool rarely works as many ‘luxury’ sugary foods and fizzy drinks already attract tax. A better approach would be for manufacturers to reduce the amounts of sugar and offer more parental advice.
I agree that 26,000 children a year losing their teeth is appalling and, with a qualified dietician in the family, I have thought long and hard about the most effective way to tackle what is a time bomb in terms of health.