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Chief medical officer calls on government to introduce ‘sugar tax’

Chief medical officer calls on government to introduce ‘sugar tax’

Britain's chief medical officer Dame Sally Davies is calling on the government to introduce a sugar tax in a bid to make the nation healthier.

There is concern that sugar is addictive and contributes to rising obesity rates.

Speaking to MPs on the Health Select Committee earlier this week, Dame Sally highlighted her concerns about the increasing number of overweight people in the UK and said that she was worried being bigger than average had become 'normalised'.

Dame Sally said: "We have a generation of children who - because they're overweight and [due to] their lack of activity - may well not live as long as my generation. They will be the first generation that live less and that is of great concern."

She added that this is a sensitive issue and people need to be properly educated about the harm that high amounts of sugar can do, but insisted the government should not ostracise those who are obese or make them feel bad about their lifestyle.

Dame Sally wants the government to be stern with food manufacturers regarding this subject, even though many brands are already working to reduce the sugar content in their products.

This follows earlier concern about sugar levels in soft drinks, after Coca-Cola was publicly challenged about the amount in its beverages and doctors called for a tax to be introduced on them.

Sustain, a charity that advises the government with regard to food and farming, has carried out research that shows UK residents consume more than 5,727 million litres of high-sugar drinks every year. If a 20p tax was added to every litre, over £1 billion could be raised.

However, it is not just sugar that has provoked concern, as Dame Sally has said the public needs to be aware of salt levels and calorie amounts too.

New labelling procedures highlighting content using a colour code system are being introduced in a bid to educate consumers about what is in their food, but these measures are currently not compulsory for food manufacturers to employ.

 

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