The government should introduce a tax on sugary foods and drinks according to a new report by Public Health England.The report, which looks at the effect of sugar on health, was due to be published in July was delayed by the Government. The report also calls for marketing restrictions to unhealthy foods aimed at children and a crackdown on supermarket special offers on unhealthy foods.The report follows on from Jamie Oliver’s appearance at the Health Select Committee hearing on childhood obesity where he reinstated his call for the Government to introduce the sugar tax. The government has come under increasing pressure from MPs on the Health Select Committee to published the report.Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said: “We welcome the publication of Public Health England’s evidence review on reducing sugar intake across the population. As the report makes it clear, diets that are high in sugar are fuelling the rise in obesity, and in turn the dramatic rise of Type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition that can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, amputations and stroke. These complications are not only life threatening and debilitating, but are also extremely costly to the health service. The NHS spends billions every year on treating diabetes, and unless we get better at helping people to live healthy and active lives this figure is set to rise to unsustainable levels.
“This is why we want to see the Government act on the strong recommendations in the report including restricting marketing of unhealthy foods to children, reducing and rebalancing the number of price promotions offered on unhealthy foods, implementing a clear and transparent programme for reformulating unhealthy foods and reducing portion sizes. The Government should also take action to reduce sugar consumption from soft drinks, which could include a tax on products that are high in sugar. As well as this people should also be supported to undertake regular physical activity and be given support to help them choose healthier foods, such as through a clear and consistent food labelling system. Unless this happens we will continue to see the seemingly inexorable rise of type 2 diabetes, with all its human and financial costs.”