On Thursday, it was announced that companies that sell sugary soft drinks will be taxed and that money will be invested in health programs for school children. This is part of a long-awaited strategy to curb childhood obesity all over the country.
Most will remember the “fat tax” that was implemented in Kerala, asking fast-food joints to pay a 14.5% tax, to control obesity in India. As the third country in the world to have the most number of overweight people, it made sense to implement this tax. The rest of the country is still on its way to adopting this same initiative.
In England, there is an obvious rise in obese children and that’s where this tax comes into play. But this decision has angered companies that manufacture these drinks, because it urges them to cut down the sugar in their products aimed at children. Junior Finance Minister Jane Ellison said in a statement announcing the details of the strategy that “obesity was costing Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) billions of pounds every year”.
But lots of people consider this plan and strategy a little weak. However, Britain isn’t the only country opting for a sugar tax. Belgium, France, Hungary and Mexico have all imposed some form of tax on drinks with added sugar are also part of this. This plan will see a levy applied to drinks with total sugar content above 5 grams per 100ml.
The health department also says that the sugary drinks are the single biggest source of sugar for children. And given that it’s so easily available in stores all over Britain, a child can have more than the recommended daily intake just by drinking a can of cola.
Sara Petersson, a nutrition analyst at Euromonitor International said, “It is becoming abundantly clear that replacing a critical ingredient of a product, or single nutrient in a diet, is neither an easy process for food companies nor a successful obesity strategy.” Which indicates that focusing on sugar may detract from other crucial factors in obesity.