By Amy Morris

Could a Tax on Fizzy Drinks & Junk Foods Be Good For Our Health?


Doctors in the UK have announced they feel increasing tax on junk foods and fizzy drinks will help sway people from consuming them so much, and will have overall benefits to their health in doing so.

The suggestions have come about since the UK was labeled as one of the most obese nations in the world, with doctors feeling something drastic needs to be done to reduce the number of obese people. As approximately a quarter of adults are now classed as obese, as are a third of primary school leavers.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has put forward many recommendations to try to get a handle on the obesity crisis in the UK. The AOMRC is made up of the whole of the medical professionals in the UK, which includes GP’s, surgeons, pediatricians to psychiatrists.

The AOMRC has mentioned that its doctors are seeing on a regular basis, the consequences of unhealthy diets and now needs to come together on this serious issue.

More recommendations from the AOMRC include:

  • Banning advertising foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
  • Increasing taxes on sugary drinks to increase prices by at least 20%
  • Reducing the amount of fast food outlets near schools and leisure centres
  • A £100m budget for interventions such as weight-loss surgery
  • No junk food or vending machines in hospitals, where all food must meet the same nutritional standards as in schools
  • Food labels to include calorie information for children

But the recommendations have been met with criticism. As Terry Jones, from the Food and Drink Federation which is an industry regulatory body, said to BBC News when asked to comment on the report:

“(The report) seems to be a damp squib and to add little to an important debate”.

Terry Jones then went onto say,

“The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has presented as its recommendations, a collection of unbalanced ideas apparently heavily influenced by single issue pressure groups.

FDF had hoped that today’s report would have looked seriously at how the food industry and the medical profession would have worked together to tackle obesity, and genuinely brought new insights to bear on how to empower healthier choices and change behaviour to deliver better long-term public health outcomes. This report fails to do that.”

To me, it doesn’t matter if the FDF regulatory body agrees with the recommendations or not, what matters really is doctors are trying to put a plan in motion to help tackle obesity. This is better than doing nothing and leaving the problem to get worse in my eyes. Perhaps, these recommendations end up going on and making a difference too?

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About the Author

Amy Morris