DAME SALLY DAVIES, Chief Medical Officer for England, has said that a sugar tax may have to be introduced to help reduce the rising obesity figures.
Davies told the Health Select Committee she believed research would show sugar to be addictive and that unless the government was harder on food and drink manufacturers the sugar content of products would not be reduced.
She continued to state that being overweight in Britain had become “normalised” and that “we have a generation of children who, because they’re overweight and their lack of activity, may well not love as long as my generations.
They will be the first generation that live less, and that is of great concern”
“We have to find a new way – not of ostracising people who are obese and making them feel bad about themselves – but somehow of helping them to understand this is pathological and will cause them harm”.
Furthermore, she said that the British public needed to be educated on how “calorie packed” some smoothies, fruits and carbonated drinks can be.
However, Terry Jones of the Food and Drink Federation said “any additional taxation of food will hit the poorest families hardest”.
“Sugars or any other nutrient for that matter, consumed as part of a varied and balanced diets are not a cause of obesity. That’s why the food industry has been working on a range of initiatives with other players to tackle obesity and diet related diseases through a number of interventions” he added.
The Department of Health has already created the “responsibility deal” which seeks to improve the public’s health, including obesity, through a number of voluntary industry pledges. So far many of these pledges have related to salt and calorie count but new front-of-pack labelling, which will include colour coding and nutritional information, could help educate consumers about their daily sugar intake.