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Poll: sugar tax will make a difference

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Poll: sugar tax will make a difference

March 23
10:15 2016

bottled-water-and-bottle-of-cola43% of people say they would buy fewer soft drinks if prices rose by 20 per cent, according to a ComRes poll commissioned by Diabetes UK.

The poll, conducted in January, was published following the UK government’s decision to levy a tax on sugary drinks. It also showed that 35 per cent of people would switch to water instead.

The poll results show that last week’s Budget announcement of a tax on sugary soft drinks should have a positive impact on public health, with people changing their buying habits, Diabetes UK said.

“It is really promising news that the government has announced a tax on the soft drinks industry,” said Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive. “We have been campaigning for this measure as we are all consuming too much sugar. This is contributing to the huge rise we are seeing in the numbers of people who are overweight and obese, and therefore at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. There are already around 3.6 million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes. This is already a huge health and economic burden for individuals and health systems.”

“However, this tax should not be absorbed by the soft drinks industry. Prices need to change otherwise there will be no impact on the health of nation. But manufacturers and consumers could avoid the tax altogether by reducing the amount of sugar in their products. We now look forward to seeing further measures to tackle this crisis in the forthcoming Childhood Obesity Strategy. We would like to see mandatory targets for food manufacturers to reduce levels of salt, fat and sugar in their products, and restrict marketing of junk food to children.”

Currently, almost two thirds of adults in the UK and almost a third of children in the UK in their final year of primary school are overweight or obese, Diabetes UK notes, which means that they are at greater risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life. This is unlike Type 1 diabetes which is not linked to lifestyle and cannot be prevented.

Many people with Type 1 diabetes use sugar sweetened drinks to treat low blood glucose levels. Diabetes UK will be involved in the consultation on how the sugar tax will be introduced to raise the issue that it should not impact negatively on the way people with diabetes treat their condition.

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