Taxing Soft Drinks To Fight Obesity
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents the 220 000 doctors in the United Kingdom, are demanding a 20% increase in taxes on soft drinks and a reduction in a the number of fast food outlets near schools.
Obesity is growing national health concern and costs the NHS £5.1bn a year, with one if four adults in England being obese, a number that’s expected. Obesity can increase a person’s risk of diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, which all pose a significant threat to a patient’s health. According the academy’s report, not enough has been done to deal with obesity in the past and they are therefore recommending a number of changes to avoid it becoming a generational problem.
The academy report includes a plan that is urging the government to increase taxes on sugary drinks by 20%, which could raise £1billion. It also suggests that councils limit the number of fast food outlets near schools or in areas where school children tend to gather. Added to that NHS staff should do more to talk to patients about their eating habits and the organisation itself should infest more over the next three years to introduce weight management programmes.
Other suggestions include an increase in bariatric surgery for those at a high risk of death, changes in foods served at canteens and a ban on vending machines in hospitals.
The Department of Health are currently reviewing the academy’s report, but have already stated that dealing with the obesity epidemic in England will require a joint effort.