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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?

CaidenTaylor Thu 28-Feb-13 13:46:06


My posts cannot "sound" anything or have a tone -they are typed ;).

My typed words are not goading or patronising either..they contain smiles and kisses.

Please note: "We ask members to respect each other's opinions even if they don't agree with them".


CobOnTheCorn Sun 24-Feb-13 18:08:35

Oh, and regarding fast food outlets, they should be obliged to sell a certain amount of freshly prepared food and offer free tap water. So if they are the only option available, people can still buy food that isn't too dreadful. I have been to fish and chip shops (not in the uk) where you can choose for the fish not to be in batter and have salad instead of chips. Also, a shish kebab is not always a bad option. Some griddled meat and salad is ok. I like the street food way of eating, where food is literally cooked in front of you. Not made in a factory hundreds of miles away, transported and sat on shelves for months. Yuk!

CobOnTheCorn Sun 24-Feb-13 18:01:46

This sounds wrong to me. Why fill the shelves of supermarkets with crap to tempt people with, wait for them to taste, enjoy and possibly become addicted to it and then hike the price?

These two previous posts I agree with wholly:

It would be much better to do something about the supermarkets almost obsessive processing of almost everything they sell and how they dictate almost everything we eat.

I think lots of things need to be banned - trans fats, the various syrup things people have mentioned, aspartame etc... I don't know how manufacturers have got away with putting so much shit in our food. But it'd need to be all or nothing really, as if you only ban a couple of things they will just find other crap to use instead.

why not stop manufacturers producing and targeting food like at that children? why not ban selling fizzy drinks to kids if they're so bad and we really care about these children's health? why think oh we'll make a bit more money and they'll pay 5p more for their fizzy drinks rather than just ban their sale to kids?

I have read recently that the founders of Leon (Henry Dimbleby and somebody else) have persuaded the government to introduce HE/cooking to schools from 7 years old. They have a website called cook 5 if you want to take a look.

My concern with the government giving advice is that it's isn't always good. I thought change 4 life was poor advice, advocating high fibre and low fat. I have read so much recently about low carb/primal way of eating and this makes the most sense to me. It is a total move away from overprocessed food which I think is a huge problem is our diets today.

I'm not sure what to suggest for people who don't have ovens, only microwaves. I was thinking about huge communal cooking areas but health and safety would be a problem. Perhaps more slow cookers.

I know it sounds equally nanny state but if I was in charge I would put far more pressure on the food industry (production and peddlers, ie supermarkets) to not make/sell such terrible food. How do they get away with it?

Kiwiinkits Fri 22-Feb-13 01:11:35

Snow, you're right, you can tell people who have a terrible diet because their skin is grey. It's so sad because its so preventable. I feel like shaking them and saying "your life could be sooo much better if you ate some greens!" lol.

SchroSawMargeryDaw Thu 21-Feb-13 16:12:14

Fuzzpig I am going to, I haven't been back to actually see the consultant due to a mix up with addresses (we moved and they hadn't logged the new address, seems to have been a system error) so I have only heard results from the GP who said that I only marginally missed the dx and only because of blood pressure as my heart rate shot up confused.

Interesting about the caffeine though as everything I have come across so far says that the caffeine can help as long as it's not excessive, I'm not great with salt but have tried to raise my intake as much as I can.

fuzzpig Thu 21-Feb-13 13:39:53

(That wasn't supposed to sound like a criticism BTW snow - just realised it sounds like it. What I meant was that I found the C4L engaging myself, although admittedly rather patronising)

fuzzpig Thu 21-Feb-13 13:37:31

I thought change4life was quite good although I was quite enthusiastic about improving things to start with. Like any scheme you need people to want to be helped or it will fall on deaf ears.

Schro - might be worth seeking advice again about the symptoms if you were close to a POTS diagnosis. I was advised to increase salt and fluid intake (to increase blood volume) but I was also told to avoid caffeine as much as possible due to its affect on the heart.

snoworneahva Thu 21-Feb-13 13:21:06

Alien your observations on the local independent school having fewer obese kids may have more to do with their wealth and the education of their parents than the playing fields available at their school, middle class kids at state schools are also less likely to be obese.
There is a definite link between obesity and poverty. I come from a relatively wealthy area, you get used to they way people look and I was shocked on visiting a relatively poorer town close by, I couldn't help but notice how many people were obese and immobile, lots carrying walking sticks and on mobility scooters with grey skin.
Crap food is cheap, it's easy to eat and requires no prep...I believe that a multi-pronged approach is needed - crap food needs to be taxed and unprocessed food needs to be subsidized. mind you the recent Change4life campaign by the Gov was a pile of crap too - the money wasted on that scheme was shameful, loads of companies made a lot of money out of achieving very little. Most of what we received was plastic marketing junk and went in the bin - it wasn't helpful at all.

Monty27 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:50:25

Curryeater there was very little chicken on my chicken grin

I don't actually eat McD's I was just using it as a comparison.

My teen dc's love Nando's confused

SchroSawMargeryDaw Wed 20-Feb-13 16:45:50

Fuzz At my tilt table test I very narrowly missed a POTS diagnosis. My BP just didn't lower quite enough on that time but I have been hospitalised for it umpteen times. hmm

This is another reason I need the caffeine drinks!

Sodastream do a Lucozade/powerade type drink as well, hopefully they wont put the tax up on them? I drink so much of the stuff, the sodastream saves a fortune in the long run, maybe you could try that?

fuzzpig Wed 20-Feb-13 16:12:54

Hey schro, I have recently been advised to drink lucozade sport type drinks in the morning because I have POTS. I've actually really gone off them now that I'm supposed to drink them daily, but I wonder if they will be covered by a tax.

SchroSawMargeryDaw Wed 20-Feb-13 15:12:42

It's the caffeine, not the sugar, everything I drink is sugar free.

Have started making my own in the Sodastream as they have brought out a red bull type syrup for it but I am wondering how much the price will go up as it makes 12 litres. confused

ICBINEG Wed 20-Feb-13 15:06:30

Can you not just mix sugar with water yourself? food colouring is cheap...

RedToothBrush Wed 20-Feb-13 13:58:16

You're screwed Schro. Thats what happens.

SchroSawMargeryDaw Wed 20-Feb-13 13:55:36

There* not their. hmm

SchroSawMargeryDaw Wed 20-Feb-13 13:53:32

What happens if their is a medical need for it?

I have a genetic condition and from that chronic fatigue, I drink lots of energy drinks because without them I can't function (like literally struggle to do anything). I'm also on disabled benefits so am utterly skint and wouldn't be able to afford them if they became more expensive. confused

Mirage Wed 20-Feb-13 12:18:20

I only drink lemonade or such if we are out and I'm the designated driver,but I think it is a bad idea.If we start banning something because someone thinks it isn't healthy,where does it end?

I say ban lycra instead.It is my firm belief that since the introduction of lycra and cheap clothes in the late 80's / 90's people have got fatter.If you are wearing clothes that expand with you,it is far easier not to notice that you are getting porkier.And cheap clothes mean it is easy to go out and buy the next size up.In the 70's clothing was far more expensive and if your clothes got too tight,you'd lay off the cake until they weren't.

curryeater Wed 20-Feb-13 09:55:11

Monty27, why do you think Nandos is so terrible? I mean no one should be eating chips every day, but I think it is a completely different echelon from MacD's - the chicken is a proper cut, so you know what part it is, and it comes with vegetables or salads. Yes, if you eat chicken + chips + dressed salad you will have consumed a lot of calories, but as a treat I would far rather eat that, or give that to my kids, than burgers in white buns (though I know I can't eat the chips so wouldn't have them, and we all drink tap water, which is freely available)

pumpkinsweetie Wed 20-Feb-13 09:39:01

I agree Alien, ie fields & more sport!
They are looking at it all wrong imo!
Healthy foods need to be made cheaper and exercise needs to be increased & also made more fun.
Harassing children over treats & taxing them will just make those treats more attractive and make parents skint to boot!

Aliensstolemychildren Wed 20-Feb-13 08:53:53

Why is it all about money and never about responsibility? The government took away all the playing fields and sport in schools and reduced PE to nothing in schools (in my sons primary school they do dance and it is ridiculous) so now they have to 'tax' everything to put right a problem they introduced by removing exercise? Bloody stupid if you ask me.

In my opinion - which is quite limited in schools where kids are forced to do 3/4 lots of sports of a week (ok that may be independent schools) you dont get many overweight kids - so maybe if the government brought back school sport they wouldn't have to do this (and I guess it will cost an awful lot of money to bring in this legislation and cost a lot of jobs to boot!)

pumpkinsweetie Wed 20-Feb-13 08:44:11

Instead of doing that, they should make fresh produce a lot cheaper!
I love making meals from scarch but in all honesty it is expensive. Once you have bought the meat, the vege & the spices etc, one homemade meal can cost over £10, great if your well of, but not if you are short of money.

Not only that but making things expensive will not stop people buying it!-the same with booze, drugs & cigarattes!

Snog Wed 20-Feb-13 06:14:31

I ate ready meals until I was 35 - now I cook from scratch. The reason for cooking ready meals was simply lack of cooking skills. I didn't learn have cooking lessons at school (academic girls school in the 1980s where cooking was viewed as not something women should be doing anymore!) and my parents didn't teach me at home. I didn't find following a recipe at all easy despite someone saying up thread that this is "all you need to do".
So I would certainly advocate equipping children with cooking skills in school.

Monty27 Wed 20-Feb-13 02:42:11

Green I agree and it's all some people can afford, they are cheaper than school dinners for example, however I can't stand the nannying bullying state. I think it should be dealt with differently: ban the offensive sugar, salts additives etc, do not allow them anywhere near; and stop the conglomerate bastard shops ripping us off and selling us rubbish GRRRRR.

I went to Nando's once co-erced by two teen dcs's I couldn't believe the utter rubbish they produced labelled as food. And it wasn't that cheap either, it made macdonalds look good imho.

It's that lot that need to be banned Grrrr.

best off to bed as ranting again and not very articulately to boot lol

Greensleeves Wed 20-Feb-13 02:26:00

I know I probably sound like an idiot (and haven't read the whole thread yet), but one concern that keeps niggling me about this is that crappy fast food outlets that are open late at night seem to be the only source of cheap hot food for some people who are homeless or have disordered lives or certain mental health problems. Sometimes a packet of hot chips is the only cheap way someone is going to get something warm inside them.

Added to my general unease about micro-controlling legislation, that makes it a no from me.

midastouch Tue 19-Feb-13 23:40:01

Doesn't bother me I rarely have fizzy drinks, but people will do what they want with they're money, its expensive as it is so i cant imagine an increase in tax on it stopping those who drink it

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