Will the proposed sugar tax curb the growing childhood obesity pandemic?
2 June 2016
Academic research on childhood obesity from the University of Birmingham presented at the European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden this week found that five and six year old school children in the Midlands are eating more than four times the recommended daily allowance of sugar, primarily driven by their consumption of fizzy sugary drinks.*
Royal London recently commissioned YouGov to run a poll of UK adults, who were asked whether the proposed increase of 6 to 8 pence on the price of soft drinks - the so-called Sugar Tax would have any impact. The results show that of the 535 respondents who had children in their household, just 24% agree that the sugar tax is exactly the type of action that will help tackle the obesity epidemic in the UK and the majority (63%) agree that the sugar tax is too little to make a difference. 64% agree they think it is likely that the Government will consider a tax on other snack foods such as chocolates and crisps.
Gareth Evans, Head of Corporate Affairs at Royal London, said: “The University of Birmingham’s study into school children’s sugar consumption rings alarm bells, again – with fizzy sugary drinks identified as a key contributor to over consumption of sugar and obesity among children.
“We welcome the Government’s move to introduce the sugar tax on fizzy drinks, but few believe relying on taxation alone is the answer. Guidance and support to help people change harmful behaviour would be a more positive move to improve the nation’s health. We urge the Government to take positive steps to tackle the obesity epidemic and to suggest more positive ways to address the long-term health consequences obesity brings, which we don’t believe can be solved by simply taxing certain drinks.”
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Notes to editors:
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2093 adults (weighted to be representative of the UK population), of which 535 have children in the household. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19th and- 20th April 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).
About Royal London:
Royal London is the largest mutual life, pensions and investment company in the UK, with Group funds under management of £87.9 billion. Group businesses provide around 9.1 million policies and employ 3,051 people. (Figures quoted are as at 31 March 2016).