Small step

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page -

Health cam­paign­ers in Ruther­glen have wel­comed the ‘sugar tax’ an­nounced in last week’s bud­get.

Healthy n Happy chief ex­ec­u­tive Brendan Rooney de­scribed the move as “a small step in the right di­rec­tion”.

Health groups in Ruther­glen and Cam­bus­lang have dubbed the sugar tax “a small step in the right di­rec­tion” weeks af­ter it was re­vealed the per­cent­age of over­weight P1 chil­dren in South La­nark­shire is at a sev­enyear high.

Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne last week re­vealed that his sugar tax would see 24p added to the cost of a litre of sug­ary drinks like Irn Bru and Coca Cola.

His an­nounce­ment comes four weeks af­ter the Re­former re­ported that 13.4 per cent of five year olds in South La­nark­shire Schools were over­weight in the 2014/15 school year.

Of that num­ber 5.7 per cent were classed as obese, up from 5.5 per cent on the pre­vi­ous year.

Brendan Rooney, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Healthy and Happy Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Trust, said: “Obe­sity has been de­scribed as one of the most se­ri­ous pub­lic health chal­lenges for the 21st Cen­tury by the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion and is clearly a prob­lem that is no­tice­able to ev­ery­one.

“What is less clear to ev­ery­one is the se­ri­ous health risks as­so­ci­ated with obe­sity like high blood pres­sure, di­a­betes and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease and the psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fects should not be un­der­es­ti­mated ei­ther.

“We think the sugar tax could be a small step in the right di­rec­tion but re­main to be con­vinced that it will achieve what cam­paign­ers had hoped for.

“The devil is in the de­tail and let’s see the re­al­ity in 2018 and fol­low­ing years. Two years is a long time in the world of cor­po­ra­tions”.

Fiona Pe­di­ani, a lo­cal Weight Watch­ers con­sul­tant, said peo­ple can­not ig­nore that in­creased sugar con­sump­tion plays a part the UK’s obe­sity epi­demic.

“The sugar tax is just one mea­sure and we do not yet know if it will re­duce the amount of sugar Bri­tain con­sumes,” she said.

“At Weight Watch­ers we are com­mit­ted to get­ting Bri­tain health­ier through education, sup­port and mo­ti­va­tion.

“Part of this ap­proach is all about mak­ing in­formed choices so we look for­ward to the govern­ment’s strat­egy to tackle the obe­sity cri­sis, due for re­lease later this year.

“We hope that it ac­tively ad­dresses the is­sue of sugar con­sump­tion as part of the wider mea­sures to help the pub­lic, in­clud­ing both chil­dren and adults, to make health­ier and sus­tain­able choices.”

The £ 520 mil­lion raised from the sugar tax will be used to fund breakl­fast clubs and sports clubs in schools.

Wel­come Brendan Rooney

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