In 2008, over 1.4 billion adults were overweight and over half a billion were obese, nearly doubling since 1980. Around 2.8 million individuals each year die as a result of being overweight or obese.
Globally, 7 to 41 percent of certain cancers, 23 percent of ischemic heart disease and 44 percent of diabetes are attributable to obesity.
A 20 percent sugar tax could decrease obesity rates in the UK by 5 percent (which equals 3.7 million individuals) by 2025 — as stated by a new report published by Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum.
The report forecasts the effect a 20 percent tax on sugar could have on obesity if current patterns continue steadily. This defined number of 3.7 million individuals is equal to the combined populations of six different cities in England.
The study also forecasts that the tax could save the National Health Service about £10 million (around $14 million) in social care and healthcare costs in the year 2025 alone.
Being overweight and obese is a notable root cause of illness that would otherwise be able to be prevented and death in the UK.
“Junk” food, high in fat and sugar, is easily accessible, extensively promoted and very cheap. The study demonstrates that the price of food influences what individuals buy, so introducing a sugar tax gives a reason to either purchase less or switch to a more healthy alternative.
Adults and young children consume double the maximum suggested quantity of added sugar. And 11 to 18 year olds eat and drink three times the recommended limit — sugary drinks being the main source of added sugar.
Recent surveys additionally demonstrate that a tax on sugar is supported by the majority of the public with 55 percent supporting the measure and only 36 percent opposed to it.
To decrease the effect obesity has on society, Cancer Research UK is calling for action by the Government to put a tax on sugary drinks, ban junk food adverts on TV before 9 pm, and introduce goals for decreasing the measure of sugar and fat in food as part of an all-inclusive plan.