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Short and sweet: Why the Government should introduce a sugary drinks tax

Authors/ source/ publisher
UK Health Forum and Cancer Research UK
Date added to library 19 February 2016
Year published
2016
Abstract
Obesity is the biggest single preventable cause of cancer after smoking. It could cause ten types of cancer, including two of the most common – bowel and breast – and two of the hardest to treat – pancreatic and oesophageal. Cancer Research UK commissioned the UK Health Forum to assess the impact of a sugary drinks tax on future rates of overweight and obesity. Using the modelling process developed by the UK Foresight working group, the UK Health Forum examined the impact a 20% excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would have on rates of overweight and obesity in the UK over the next 10 years. The introduction of a 20% excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages could avoid 3.7 million people being obese by 2025. This is equivalent to a 5% shift in obesity prevalence.  If current trends were to continue, obesity levels in the UK could increase from 29% in 2015 to 34% by 2025. This increase could be avoided by the introduction of a 20% excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. The introduction of a 20% excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages could save approximately £10 million in direct NHS healthcare and NHS social care costs in the year 2025 alone. Based on these findings, an excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages should be introduced as part of a comprehensive children’s obesity strategy.
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