sugar soft drink

The UK has a sugar epidemic on its hands, says the report

The soft drinks industry has hit back at a report claiming teenagers drink almost ‘a bathtub of sugary drinks’ a year by pointing out teens’ sugar intake from soft drinks has actually fallen.

The Cancer Research UK report, released today, arrived at the claim based on figures calculated from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS). But Gavin Partington, director general of the British Soft Drinks Association, said the same NDNS data “actually shows that teenagers’ sugar intake from soft drinks is down by 8%”. He added: “This is not surprising since soft drinks companies’ action on reformulation and smaller pack sizes has helped drive a 17% cut in sugar consumed from soft drinks since 2012. The soft drinks sector is ahead of the game and in 2015 became the only category to set a voluntary calorie reduction target of 20% by 2020. We also voluntarily extended the advertising rules regarding under 16s to all online media.”

The Cancer Research UK report also suggested four to 10 year old were drinking the equivalent of almost half a bathtub full of sugary drinks each year.

The charity said obese children were about five times more likely to grow into obese adults, and carrying too much weight increased the risk of cancer as well as other diseases.

Alison Cox, director of prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s shocking that teenagers are drinking the equivalent of a bathtub of sugary drinks a year.

“We urgently need to stop this happening and the good news is that the government’s sugar tax will play a crucial role in helping to curb this behaviour. The ripple effect of a small tax on sugary drinks is enormous, and it will give soft drinks companies a clear incentive to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks. When coupled with the Government’s plan to reduce sugar in processed food, we could really see an improvement to our diets.”

Cox added: “But the government can do more to give the next generation a better chance, by closing the loop hole on junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed. The UK has an epidemic on its hands, and needs to act now.”