Irish Heart Foundation symposium: tax on sugar sweetened beverages

The Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) is calling for a 20% tax on sugary drinks in the budget. This would raise in the region of €60 milllion extra in revenue tax.

A recent poll carried out by a social marketing agency found that 52% of of the Irish public support the introduction of a tax on sugar sweetened drinks to help reduce child obesity. Almost 90% of respondents agreed that sugar sweetened drinks contribute to childhood obesity with the same number feeling that Irish children and young people consume too many of these products. 

A growing body of research  indicates that consumption of sugar sweeted beverages (SSB) is associated with increased calorie intake, weight gain, obesity and a variety of negative health consequences. In children each extra can or glass of SSB consumed per day increases their chance of obesity by 60%.

Yesterdays event focussed on considering this measure as one approach to tackle childhood obesity. Dr Adam Briggs from the University of Oxford outlined his research which estimated that a 10% tax on SSB could potentially lead to a 1.3% reduction in obesity, reducing the number of obese by 10,000. A 20% tax could potentially reduce those who are obese by 22,000. 

In addition to this tax the IHF is also asking for some of this tax to be allocated towards subsidies on fruit and vegetables, as well as the establishment of a Children's Health Fund to promote good nutrition through education and skills, as well as providing healthier meals in the country's schools. Presentations from this event can be accessed on the Irish Heart Foundation website.

Posted: 24/06/2014 12:28:03 by Laura Keaver


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