Call for tax on sugar sweetened beverages

The RCPI Policy Group on Obesity are urging the government to consider a 20% tax on sugar sweetened beverages in the 2014 budget to help improve health and reduce obesity levels in Ireland.

Sugar sweetened drinks are known to lead to weight gain and they have no nutritional benefits for consumers. The policy group are also asking the government to review how these drinks are advertised and the effect this has on consumption, particularly in children. Many of these sugar sweetened drinks are now being promoted by sports stars and celebrities who are in a position to influence the choices of consumers, particularly children.

The Irish Heart Foundation are supporting the introduction of this tax which they feel will encourage a switch in consumption to healthier alternatives such as water or low fat milk.

1 in 4 Irish children are now classified as overweight or obese. Health professionals are in agreement that sugar sweetened drinks and their patterns of consumption have contributed significantly to weight gain in recent years. With overweight and obese children likely to become overweight and obese adults these trends will put a significant burden on the Irish health care system. The cost of obesity alone in 2009 was estimated at €1.13 billion.

A Health Impact Assessment (PDF, 9.2MB) commissioned by the Department of Health last year forecast that a 10% tax on sugar sweetened beverages could reduce the number of obese adults in Ireland by 10,000.

The introduction of this tax could help reduce the direct and indirect healthcare costs of obesity as well as generate additional revenue which could be invested in obesity prevention programmes.

Resources

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Posted: 07/10/2013 11:01:17 by Laura Keaver


 

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