Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has recently given evidence to the House of Commons Health Committee’s Inquiry into Childhood Obesity Strategy, arguing that a seven pence tax on sugary drinks could generate a billion pounds a year for the NHS.

Dr Sally Robinson, Principal Lecturer in the School of Public Health, Midwifery and Social Work and author of the book Healthy Eating in Primary Schools, tells us why she is supporting Jamie Oliver’s call for a sugary drinks tax:

As part of Jamie’s campaign, he has launched a petition to lobby the Government to ‘Introduce a tax on sugary drinks in the UK to improve our children’s health’. Here are 13 reasons why I’m supporting this petition:

In England…

  1. The whole population is consuming far too much sugar, but the highest intakes are among 4 to 10 year olds
  2. 4 to 10 year olds are consuming almost three times as much sugar than the maximum that is recommended
  3. Sugar is strongly associated with tooth decay
  4. Almost half our 8 years olds have tooth decay
  5. High sugar diets are directly linked to high calorie diets
  6. High calorie diets are linked to excessive weight gain and obesity
  7. Almost a quarter of 4-5 year olds and a third of 10 to 11 year olds in England are overweight or obese
  8. Obesity makes us more vulnerable to developing heart disease, strokes, cancer and diabetes type 2
  9. Diabetes type 2 is strongly linked to heart disease, strokes, kidney failure and amputations due to poor circulation
  10. Diabetes type 2 has recently been linked to the regular consumption of sugary drinks
  11. Diabetes type 2, until recently only seen in middle age, is increasing among our children
  12. Children’s main source of sugar in the diet is sugary drinks
  13. A tax on high sugar products in other countries has been shown to reduce sugar consumption

Jamie’s sugary drinks tax is only one small part of a much more comprehensive plan outline by Public Health England. It is not the whole solution, but it is an important signal to the Government that we care about the health of our children and their futures.

Jamie’s petition is at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/106651, and Parliament has scheduled to debate the petition on 30 November 2015.