Responding to the Soft Drinks Industry Levy which comes into force tomorrow (Friday 6 April 2018), BMA board of science chair Professor Dame Parveen Kumar said:
“The introduction of the soft drinks levy tomorrow is a long overdue and crucial change that will go some way towards reducing the prevalence of obesity in the UK.
“Recent figures in 2016/17, from NHS Digital, show an 18 per cent increase in obesity-related hospital admissions for complex conditions like Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease, compared to the previous year. Furthermore, one in five year six pupils were considered obese last year.1
“Consumers often don’t know the exact amount of sugar in the drinks they give their children, or drink themselves. This levy will help ensure sugary drinks manufacturers act to reduce levels of sugar in their products.
“While we are cautiously awaiting the details of a long-term funding solution for the NHS proposed by the government, one thing that is clear is that the health service, in its current state, will not be able to cope with rising levels of obesity-related health conditions.
“It is a sad fact that this soft drinks Levy, enforceable from tomorrow, did not come much sooner, but there is a lot more we can do to tackle the rising prevalence of obesity. Tougher rules on junk food marketing aimed at children would begin to create a healthier environment for all.”
Notes to Editors
1 - Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet - England, 2018, NHS Digital -http://digital.nhs.uk/catalogue/PUB30258
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
- Read more about the BMA’s work to promote healthy diets among children and young people in our ‘Food for Thought’ report here.