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Momentum against sugary drinks builds

CAN-DO ATTITUDE: The Government is starting to get to grips with sugary drinks

A Government plan to ban the sale of energy drinks to children garnered several headlines this month – including the inevitable, ‘Red Bull Ban’.

Its latest public health effort, fronted by prime minister Theresa May, focused on the relatively high levels of sugar in them, 60 per cent more than in regular soft drinks.

Her proposal was a ‘significant action’ in tackling childhood obesity she said, which she rightly recognised as ‘one of the greatest health challenges facing this country’.

Steps, such as the tax on soft drinks, are ‘long overdue’ as BMA board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said, when the levy came into force in April.

Doctors have been calling on the Government to take seriously the real and escalating dangers of childhood obesity and other public health issues for years.

In the BMA’s latest report, released this month, Securing the long-term sustainability of the NHS, it makes the case for prioritising investment across many areas of prevention.

It flags the latest NHS Digital figures, showing that children in the most deprived areas of England were more than twice as likely to be obese than children living in the least deprived.

‘Despite the well-established evidence-base and repeated political commitments to prioritise prevention, this has failed to translate into adequate action,’ it states.

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