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