More regulation may be needed after the sugar tax

More than 20% of children are overweight or obese when they start school

More sugar regulation might be necessary after the introduction of the sugar levy in April 2018, the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has claimed, after research showed that more than one-in-five children started school overweight or obese.

There had been “minimal improvement” to childhood obesity over the past 10 years, RCPCH revealed in its State of Child Health Report 2017. The report recommended that the effectiveness of the sugar tax be evaluated after its introduction.

The report said: [There is a] need for continued efforts by government and partners to reduce childhood obesity, starting with maternal health and wellbeing and continuing once children are born and grow into adulthood.

‘A positive start’

“The sugar levy [on soft drinks] to be introduced across the UK is a positive start. However, robust monitoring and evaluation will be necessary to determine their impact and whether more regulation is required.”

Regulation should also be strengthened if voluntary action – on the reduction of other high saturated fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods – by manufacturers do not achieve their targets, the report said. Other recommendations included a ban on broadcasting adverts for HFSS foods before 9pm, and introducing a national programme to measure children after birth, before school and in adolescence.

RCPCH president Neena Modi said: “The health of infants, children and young people in the UK has improved dramatically over the last 30 years. Many will lead happy and healthy lives, but the future health and happiness of a significant and growing number is in jeopardy.

‘Reducing their lifespan’

“Around 80% of overweight and obese children will become overweight and obese adults, reducing their lifespan and imposing an enormous burden upon our health and care services from the ravages of chronic, non-communicable disease.”

In a separate report, published last month, it was claimed that the soft drinks levy was not enough to solve Britain’s obesity crisis alone. Manufacturers would need to increase their product prices for obesity to be reduced in children, it suggested.

Meanwhile, last month’s sugar tax draft was slammed by law firm DWF. It claimed the levy would be “complex” and raised “serious questions”.


Report’s recommendations for improving childhood obesity:
  • Commission independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the sugar levy.
  • Outline plans for a regulatory framework that will be enforced if voluntary work on the reduction of high levels of saturated fat, sugar and salt in foods (HFSS) do not achieve the targets set
  • Ban advertising of HFSS foods in all broadcast media before 9pm
  • Expand national programmes to measure children after birth, before school and in adolescence.
  • Ensure children who are overweight or obese can access services to help them lose weight
  • Help all healthcare professionals make every contact count by having potentially difficult conversations with their patients

Related News

New healthy food guidance has been produced for schools

Schools get healthy food guidance

Childhood obesity 'could be remedied by halting some food promotions'

Childhood obesity: ‘cut unhealthy food promotions’

All Lucozade Ribena Suntory’s soft drinks will fall below the sugar tax threshold

Lucozade Ribena Suntory cuts sugar to avoid tax charge

Tougher controls are needed on the advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt to children, argues Which?

Food promotion controls to protect kids ‘are flawed’

Buttriss: ‘PHE now has a set of guiding principles for distinguishing free sugars from others’

Labelling of sugar content under scrutiny

'Huge differences' in sugar levels between similar foods were discovered by Action on Sugar

Action on Sugar highlights ‘huge’ sugar differences between products

Waitrose has cut the sugar content in its own-label cereals

Waitrose reduces sugar in own-label cereals

Rabobank: The end of the EU sugar production quota will not necessarily guarantee a low price

Consider longer-term sugar contracts: report

Nestlé claims to have found a way to reduce sugar content in chocolate by 40% without affecting taste (Flickr/dorisrvb)

Nestlé in ‘groundbreaking’ 40% sugar cut research

FDF has released a new sugar reformulation guide for SMEs

Sugar reformulation guide released by FDF

Tesco is to reduce the amount of sugar in all of its own-label soft drinks

Tesco reduces sugar in own-label drinks

The sweetener is made from carefully-selected steviol glycosides

‘Sugar like’ stevia for low-calorie drinks unveiled

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.