The report, Sugar Reduction: The Evidence for Action, compiled by Public Health England (a government advisory group) had set out a number of policies which it believes can help tackle the obesity crisis in this country.
The policies included a sugar tax, a crackdown on the marketing of sugary and other unhealthy products to children, and continued action to push the message that most people need to lower their daily sugar intake.
The report was finally published on Thursday afternoon, although it has been originally scheduled for publication in July. The delay was attributed to the Department of Health (which PHE is part of) so that its findings could be used to inform the government’s forthcoming strategy to combat childhood obesity. The news report revealed that Prime Minister David Cameron had not read the report, dismissing a sugar tax out of hand.
The obesity crisis in the UK is thought to cost the NHS some £5.1 billion a year. The report says its suggested policies, including the sugar tax, are needed to reduce the consumption of sugary foods and drinks that are contributing to this crisis.
The recommendations include stripping out high amounts of sugar from everyday foods, which as anyone with diabetes will know, can be a minefield as sugar turns up in surprising places – from soups, to breads, to sauces and more.
The Food and Drink Federation has said it will fight any sugar tax, saying “we do not agree that the international evidence supports the introduction of a sugar tax and for this reason would oppose such a move”.
The report says, however, that research studies and impact data from countries that have taken action against sugar with price increases can influence the purchase of sugar-sweetened drinks and other high-sugar products.
The report adds: “Consumption of sugar and sugar-sweetened drinks is particularly high in school-age children. It also tends to be highest among the most disadvantaged, who also experience a higher prevalence of tooth decay and obesity and its health consequences.”
Almost 25 percent of adults, 10 percent of four to five-year-olds and 19 percent of 10- to 11-year-olds in England are obese, with significant numbers also being overweight.
Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston (who chairs the Commons health select committee) said she was “deeply concerned” by the secrecy surrounding the report, and its delayed release.
The Diabetes Diet says: We’re all for policies that reduce overall sugar consumption among the population and think this report should have been published earlier. If you follow a low-carb diet, like the one we recommend, you will cut your sugar consumption drastically.
To read the news report in full, see The Guardian.
You can read the Public Health Report in full on the Government website.