Bri­tish teens drink a ‘bath­tub’ of sug­ary drinks a year

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Bri­tish teenagers drink al­most a bath­tub full of sug­ary drinks each year, Can­cer Re­search UK said yes­ter­day as the char­ity urged the govern­ment to do more to im­prove chil­dren’s di­ets. Chil­dren aged 11 to 18 con­sume on av­er­age 234 cans of sugar-sweet­ened soft drinks each year, CRUK said. The fig­ure amounts to al­most a bath full and is more than dou­ble the fig­ure for chil­dren aged be­tween four and 10, whose av­er­age an­nual in­take is 110 cans. The data stems from a re­cent re­port car­ried out by the govern­ment’s health depart­ment and the Food Stan­dards Agency, chart­ing the pop­u­la­tion’s diet and nu­tri­tion.

The study found a drop in the amount of sugar-sweet­ened soft drinks con­sumed by chil­dren, with a more sig­nif­i­cant fall recorded in the un­der-10s than teenagers. De­spite the im­prov­ing fig­ures, CRUK said there was an ur­gent need to fur­ther re­duce chil­dren’s in­take of sug­ary drinks and threw its sup­port be­hind govern­ment pro­posal to in­tro­duce a sugar tax. “The rip­ple ef­fect of a small tax on sug­ary drinks is enor­mous, and it will give soft drinks com­pa­nies a clear in­cen­tive to re­duce the amount of sugar in drinks,” said Ali­son Cox, di­rec­tor of pre­ven­tion at CRUK.

“But the govern­ment can do more to give the next gen­er­a­tion a bet­ter chance. “The UK has an epi­demic on its hands, and needs to act now,” she added. Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May re­vealed plans in Au­gust to in­tro­duce a sugar tax aimed at tack­ling child­hood obe­sity, tooth de­cay and type 2 di­a­betes. The sugar levy was first un­veiled in March by the ad­min­is­tra­tion of May’s pre­de­ces­sor David Cameron. The tax on drinks with more than five grams of sugar per 100 milliliters will be in­tro­duced in two years, de­spite strong op­po­si­tion from the drinks in­dus­try.

Soft drinks gi­ant A.G. Barr, maker of Scot­land’s Irn-Bru fizzy drink, in Septem­ber said the move to­wards sugar-free drinks fol­lowed “neg­a­tive me­dia cov­er­age of the sec­tor”. Barr said the drinks in­dus­try’s own ac­tion to re­duce sugar ren­dered the sugar tax “an un­nec­es­sary mea­sure in the con­text of govern­ment health pol­icy ob­jec­tives.” Only a hand­ful of coun­tries such as France, South Africa and Mex­ico have at­tempted such a tax.—AP

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