What do you think? Would a ‘sugar tax’ help reduce the problem of obesity in Norfolk and Suffolk?

Sugar cubes in a bowl isolated on white background Sugar cubes in a bowl isolated on white background

Wednesday, March 5, 2014
2:57 PM

A “sugar tax” may have to be introduced to curb child and adult obesity, the chief medical officer for England has warned.

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Speaking to the Commons Health Select Committee, Professor Dame Sally Davies said that being overweight had become “normalised” in Britain and the Government should regulate the food and drinks industry to protect people against the dangers of excess calorie consumption.

“We need to be both strong and prepared to regulate. I think that the science is going such that that we will find sugar is addictive,” said Dame Sally.

“We haven’t managed to get over to the public how calorie packed fruit juices are, smoothies are, colas and carbonated drinks. We need to have a big education to know one is fine, but not lots of them.”

“We may need to move to some sort of sugar tax, but I hope we don’t have to.”In January, a group of health experts established the Action on Sugar campaign group which works to reduce the amount of sugar added to food and soft drinks and educate the public about “hidden sugars”. Flavoured water, sports drinks, yoghurts, ketchup, ready meals and even bread have been identified by the group as some everyday foods that contain large amounts of sugar.

Dame Sally added that promoting physical education alone would not solve Britain’s obesity crisis.

“I worry that we have re-sized a women’s dress size so that a size 14 now was a size 12 when I was student. We have normalised being overweight,” she said.

“We have to find a new way - not of ostracising people who are obese and making them feel bad about themselves - but somehow of helping them to understand this is pathological and will cause them harm.

“We have a generation of children who because they are overweight and lack activity may not live as long as my generation; they will be the first generation who will live less.”

Do you agree with the idea? Leave a comment in the section below.

See tomorrows EDP for a special report on the plans and what impact it could have in our region.

12 comments

  • Yet another time when a nanny from the health industry wants to impose a tax. Just what do they expect a tax to do? Cigarettes are taxed highly and that has had little effect. If only they were so enthusiastic about taking action against individuals in the NHS who fail us but they don't seem to mention that?

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    andy

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • I don't think taxing sugar is the answer, people will still buy the things they want, but, I do think they should stop the producers of these highly sugary things using so much sugar. Since my husband has been a diabetic I have had to look at labels etc. and it is shocking, we never did eat all this junk food, but, even things you would not expect are loaded with sugar and is that really necessary. We both eat healthily but still struggle with our weight so its not all sugar! Think the supermarkets could do more to help by stopping the buy one get one free on all the rubbish food and doing it instead with fruit and veg. A lot of the obesity is down to people sitting around doing nothing, even those in work are not physically working hard like our ancestors did (thank goodness!) so are not working off the calories they are taking in, we should all be eating less, myself included!

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    Lynda

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • With livelihoods in Norfolk and Sufffolk heavily dependent on the production of sugar beet and the manufacture and distribution of sugars I don't think there would be too much sympathy for a sugar tax around here.

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    JCW

    Friday, March 7, 2014

  • Taxing sugar will make no difference at all. How about an increase on the cost of clothes as the size increases? Why is it a female (or male) who keeps themselves trim and fit pays the same for a size 8 as an overweight person pays for a size 20 plus? it just doesn't make sense, I mean a single bed is cheaper than a double and a pair of doors is cheaper than one, so why do overweight people get twice as much material for the same price as a slim person, are the fit subsidising the fat? Food for thought maybe, or is that the wrong thing to say? Other option is to fit very narrow doors on junk food outlets.

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    Mr T

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • This is not as ridiculous as it seems in the sense that it will be a great money spinner but how much of the money will go directly back into care for the obese? Not so much I would guess. Dame Sally Davies States that yoghurts and bread are included in items high in sugar... every child's lunchbox will now cost parents even more, surely this will lead to children having less choice and possibly less nutritious food in their lunchbox. Why not charge the manufacturers rather than the customers? In fact, why not charge the manufacturers for all of the additives and preservatives they put into foods? One of the biggest problems is that most people are not aware of appropriate portion sizes and food and drink has become more convenient to buy on the hoof. Another problem is that some of us spend more time in our cars or at our desks because we are working longer hours to meet our financial obligations. When we are sitting we are not working off the calories and a double whammy is we are having convenient foods like sandwiches which have hidden sugars because you can work or drive and eat while you earn. Let's just make people take responsibility for their health? If your health is no incentive to eat and drink more responsibly then I am sure that a financial penalty will not solve the problem. What will happen is that lesser educated people will become even poorer because their grocery bill will increase and they will remain obese, malnourished and impoverished.

    Report this comment

    Shanski

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • This is not as ridiculous as it seems in the sense that it will be a great money spinner but how much of the money will go directly back into care for the obese? Not so much I would guess. Dame Sally Davies States that yoghurts and bread are included in items high in sugar... every child's lunchbox will now cost parents even more, surely this will lead to children having less choice and possibly less nutritious food in their lunchbox. Why not charge the manufacturers rather than the customers? In fact, why not charge the manufacturers for all of the additives and preservatives they put into foods? One of the biggest problems is that most people are not aware of appropriate portion sizes and food and drink has become more convenient to buy on the hoof. Another problem is that some of us spend more time in our cars or at our desks because we are working longer hours to meet our financial obligations. When we are sitting we are not working off the calories and a double whammy is we are having convenient foods like sandwiches which have hidden sugars because you can work or drive and eat while you earn. Let's just make people take responsibility for their health? If your health is no incentive to eat and drink more responsibly then I am sure that a financial penalty will not solve the problem. What will happen is that lesser educated people will become even poorer because their grocery bill will increase and they will remain obese, malnourished and impoverished.

    Report this comment

    Shanski

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • The huge amount of tax on fuels has not managed to reduce the level of obesity by making people walk has it, so why on earth would it work if you Tax sugar. Its down to the obese individual, eat less (eat correctly), move more. Its that simple.

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    ggj666

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • Shut places such as Cantley that produce this poison, yes a poison that is causing major ill health throughout the nation.

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    Catton Man

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • another step to the great nanny state has this idea been put to the obese MPs we see on our screens sitting on the benches of parliament I bet not if it has what do they think

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

  • Firstly mr T sugar is not always the cause of obesity! I would imagine a very high number is health conditions, I was a size 8 until I became seriously ill, stuck in a wheel chair, unable to exercise but try my best as was a very active person who competed in sport wkly. now I need carers to bathe me and I don't eat sugary foods, why should I pay more for clothes because I have terminal illness? Oh how I wish my life was so perfect!!! On the other hand I have a disabled son who is fed via a tube as his stomach doesn't work but he can nibble on tiny amounts and those tiny amounts keep him going, it costs enough when he has to stay in great ormond street for long periods should we be charged for trying to get him to gain weight? He is in and out of hospital and very skinny, he didn't gain weight at all for a few yrs so was fantastic when he decided he liked chocolate buttons! We all need sugar to a certain level.

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    thumper327

    Monday, March 10, 2014

  • So rather than regulate and limit manufacturers on the use of sugars and additives you impose a tax - hmmmm clever another way of ripping off the public again. Who has time when in shops to see what weight in sugars or extra calories every product has that is in a monthly shopping trolley? Nanny state again telling us how to live and charging our ever decreasing pockets for that right to live. The food industry with it's sugars and additives should be the ones to control as they substitute rubbish, chemical & salts etc in order to achieve larger profits to misfortune of our health. we still have to buy food and with the vast array of preservatives - starches are all to common place now in a more diverse choice. Horse meat proved this with profits by using old nags to make more money - did you fine the public for that???

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    tim.j.stubbs

    Wednesday, March 5, 2014

  • We are already taxed the majority of foods with high sugar are classed as luxuries and have VAT on? Also what would be the knock on effect to the sugar beet industry which is quite a big part of east anglia employmentindustry???

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    Toffee

    Thursday, March 6, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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