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Tax on fizzy drinks and curb on takeaway outlets to fight obesity: good idea or not?

(206 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Feb-13 17:20:19


Today, doctors are calling on the government to levy an experimental 20% tax on sugary soft drinks and to make local councils limit the number of fast-food outlets outside schools, colleges and leisure centres - to help prevent the UK's obesity crisis becoming "unresolvable".

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (which represents nearly every doctor in the UK) says it wants measures like these brought in to break the cycle of "generation after generation falling victim to obesity-related illnesses and death".

One in four adults in England is obese, and predictions are that obesity rates will soon rise to 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children.

The British Retail Consortium has countered by saying it's wrong to "demonise" fast-food outlets and it's down to parents to help children "build a healthy and responsible attitude to eating a balanced diet overall".

What do you think?

Do we all need measures like the doctors are suggesting to help us - and our children - stay at a healthy weight?

Or should we be left alone to eat - and feed our children - whatever we choose?

Snowkey Mon 18-Feb-13 20:24:15

Oh and I think a tax on sugar is a great idea - not forgetting all the fructose syrups, concentrated fruit sugar garbage etc either.

Last time I was a A&E we couldn't get a glass of cold water in the waiting room, fizzy drinks from a vending machine was the only choice.

Nanny state may be but who's paying for all this? The state!

IThinkOfHappyWhenIThinkOfYou Mon 18-Feb-13 20:25:27

I don't mind a tax on fizzy drinks and other 'luxury' foods with no nutritional value but I suppose alcohol tax would have to go up too to maintain alcohol as more expensive than pop.

I think the takeaway thing is to complicated though. Presumably they can't shut down existing businesses so it will only apply to new businesses and I don't think there will be enough secondary school that have the potential for a takeaway near them but nobody has opened one for it to have any impact at all. Not because people are so desperate to sell chips to kids but because school are usually in built up areas. I would be a bit pissed off if I could never, ever get a takeaway because all suitable sites for a business with a takeaway licence were near schools. When I was at school we weren't allowed out at lunchtime and we didn't have cash for lunch anyway. You had to eat in school. I had chips everyday and was still under 7 stone when I left.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:31:46

Also the fact is those that are addicted to sugar and refuse to do anything about it are costing the NHS millions so really they should pay more.

I also think parents will think twice,some of these kids must consume gallons of the stuff and if you've got 3 thirsty children, a tight budget which we all have and a tap you'll be far more likely to revert to the tap if buying drinks x3 7 days a week becomes even more expensive.

I'm amazed anybody can afford these drinks to be frank.

Corygal Mon 18-Feb-13 20:33:00

I would like the FSA to check what our meat is and where it comes from before launching distracting, silly campaigns like this.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 20:34:35

Takeaways... so how many takeaway places serve what people might call 'healthy food'. So how do you decide what is a healthy acceptable takeaway? Or do you just remove choice... and does this mean that supermarkets who sell -crap and equally unhealthy-- lunches will also be targeted?

Thought not. Nuff said.

Frankly, all this 'healthy food' crap is part of the problem. You can eat too much 'healthy food' and still have a problem.

You have to understand whats in your food, not just ban it.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:35:31

I don't.Obesity is costing billions and shortening the lives of kids who deserve better. Horsemeat however unsavoury is nowhere near as dangerous.Also you could always go veggie!

bigbluebus Mon 18-Feb-13 20:52:24

My brother and sister-in-law are both very overweight. They do not eat take-aways or drink coke - they live on a diet of home cooked food, but obviously just eat too much of it. I have friends who are the same. So how exactly will putting the price of fizzy drinks up by 20% cure their obesity problems?

AmberSocks Mon 18-Feb-13 20:52:57

I think its sad how parents are happy to take less and less responsibility for their childrens health and happiness,its lazy and pathetic.

Jellykat Mon 18-Feb-13 20:58:23

I agree with these ideas, but my only problem with this idea is who exactly decides which drinks should be taxed?
There are some sparkling drinks we buy occasionally that contain no added sugar, yet they could still be classed as 'soft drinks' - Bottle green sparkling juices, Curiosity Cola and Purdeys are the main ones that spring to my mind... They are already expensive in comparison to your bog standard Colas etc, because they are ethically produced and don't contain crap.
I think it is a possibility that these smaller independent companies may get into trouble should there products be forced to go up in price.

My DS's school doesn't allow pupils out at any breaktimes, as many schools don't, so the fast food outlet idea would be void at many schools. I know his school (and many others) serves crappy meals still, so that problem still hasn't been solved despite Jamie Olivers best attempts.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:00:08

Big won't cure your family but it will help millions of others.

The fact is sugar is as addictive as crack,it is killing people and costing the NHS millions. I'm not a drug addict but fighting drug addiction is good for me too and children born into families with drug addicts.

Tee2072 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:02:33

Sugar is as addictive as crack? Proof?

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:02:54

Jelly. I think they should all be treated the same,don't care how pretty the packaging is.In fact these are the companies we should be focusing on particularly,far too often you think ah a pretty Eco type bottle must be better for me-if it is still full of sugar it isn't.

newgirl Mon 18-Feb-13 21:03:05

gov was very happy to accept coca cola sponsoring the olympics...

yes make it expensive

i dont think eating healthy is expensive - potatoes, lentils, seasonal apples, tinned tomatoes, bananas etc - bag of each of those costs less than a bottle of coke

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:06:59

Tee Google it.

bigbluebus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:10:39

But polkadot adding extra tax is not going to stop peoples' addiction to sugar. If people can afford regular take-aways then they cannot be poor - so charging them a bit extra will not stop them.
Likewise, if they have a taste for fizzy sugary drinks, they are not going to suddenly get a taste for drinking water. Taxing these items is not going to change everyone's taste buds - that takes will power. I can remember giving up the 2 spoons of sugar that I used to take in coffee, it took weeks of determination and pulling faces at the bitter taste - but I got there in the end.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 21:13:09

The difference between putting up the price on drinks compared with cigarettes.

You HAVE to eat. You do not HAVE to smoke.

Therefore whatever you cut out of your diet, you need to replace somehow.

Therefore the ONLY way to solve problems about diet is to educate people properly.

You can have changes like this until you are blue in the face, but it will only cause new problems unless you actually tackle the root causes.

And as I said upthread, if 'diet' drinks are in fact WORSE than sugary drinks which seems to be the case, then what the fuck is this actually going to solve? And people will just switch to diet drinks unless they have education to do differently.

redlac Mon 18-Feb-13 21:15:50

Will never happen - Scottish Government fighting in court to get minimum pricing on alcohol to save thousands of lives and you can bet that the likes of Coca Cola, McDs etc will do exactly the same thing to stop this tax

Bloody fabulous idea though and would totally support it - apart from taxing Irn Bru! it's the juice of the gods smile

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:16:30

Nobody has to drink soft drinks,that is the point.They serve absolutely no purpose.Tax them until they're unaffordable for everybody as far as I'm concerned.They are simply sugar,water and shite which make companies millions.We all have taps with clean water.

Tee2072 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:19:54

But you don't have to drink fizzy drinks or eat junk.

And yes, if they do this, will the government not accept their sponsorship? Or how about tax companies that do accept their sponsorship?

Who sponsors FA Cup? Wimbledon? Most of the reality TV shows?

The apple farmers? I doubt it.

Polka Why should I? You made a statement, back it up.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 21:23:44

Yeah, but have you TRIED to give up the sugary taste?

They are addicted to the taste, and will try and find other ways to get that 'hit' rather than switch to water. Hence the switch to 'diet' drinks.

You yourself said "sugar is as addictive as crack" so if thats the case, do you really think this is the solution?

You need to educate people to get unhooked to ALL sugary tastes, if you want to tackle obesity. Otherwise you have to tax ALL drinks that not only have sugar in them, but also ones with sugar substitutes.

Thats the point. The solution they are proposing doesn't actually solve the problem here if diet drinks are also a cause.

BTW, if anyone is interested and thinks there may be something more sinister in all this, look at the price of sugar compared to various sugar substitutes. Then look at who owns the patents to this sugar substitutes. Hello Coca Cola (amongst others). There is actually more profit to be made in diet drinks than sugary ones...

ivykaty44 Mon 18-Feb-13 21:24:54

taxing smoking doesn't stop people smoking

stopping smoking in public places has reduced people smoking and encouraged them to give up.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:29:39

Well it's there and I can't be arsed to link.

'twas highly reported only recently,sugar as an addiction has also been known about for years.

Interestingly my uncle is an obesity/diabetes medical scientist in North America,he's been saying for years that America's sugar and hfcs addiction will eventually bring their whole health system(such as it is)down.

I suspect doctors in this country know what they're talking about and we simply can't carry on like this.

RedToothBrush Mon 18-Feb-13 21:30:23

If you want a better method of trying to solve the problem, you'd be better to stop the sale of small bottles of anything but water.

People don't want to lug huge bottles around all the time.

merrymouse Mon 18-Feb-13 21:31:29

Whilst they are at it could they do something about the labelling on fizzy drinks?

Bottles of Fanta, clearly designed to be drank at a sitting are labelled as x amount of calories 'per serving', the serving being half a bottle.

PolkadotCircus Mon 18-Feb-13 21:32:18

Red. I agree they need to tackle diet crap too,maybe they're planning to?Also I suspect education would come too.

If a tax only goes to giving the NHS more money it would be a start.

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