Obesity rates are rising at an alarming rate more so than ever. The problem happens to be serious as being obese can put the person at risk of a number of serious complications. Some of them (like cardiovascular disease) can be fatal at times. In short, there is no denying in the fact that obesity rates need to be kept under check.
There are a number of contributors to weight gain. Nutritionists have been able to identify two main reasons: unhealthy diet plan and lack of physical activity.
Let us consider “unhealthy diet plan” for the time being. While there are a variety of foods that fall into this category, few of them may already be known to you. One prominent being sugar, the excessive consumption of which can promote weight gain.
To counter this problem, the UK government are in talks with its health bureau to introduce a sugar tax!
Yes, you heard it right, a tax to control the intake of sugar.
How much sugar do we consume?
The simple answer is quite a lot. In fact, over the years our consumption of sugar has quadrupled. According to one study, a 10-year-old now consumes the requirement of an 18-year-old. People of all age group now are taking sugar more than they actually should. In a wider scheme of things, that means that we are all in a way putting ourselves at risk of obesity.
The National Diet and Nutrition Survey documented findings (for UK citizen) to reveal the percentage of calories coming from sugar. According to NDNS, a person in the age group 15 to 19 obtains about 20% of his daily calories requirement from sugars. Moving forward, a person above the age of 40 receives on an estimated 13% of his total calories from sugary foods.
If the figures don’t alarm you then you should know that the recommended percentage happens to be just 5. To make matters further worse, no age group consumes anywhere close to the required percentage.
From the above discussion, you can reasonably infer the obesity rates prevailing in the UK. Not surprisingly, 1 in every 5 children is overweight even before he starts schooling!
What is the sugar tax?
The UK government realized the intensity of the problem and decided to execute measures to take hold of it. The sugar tax is going to be one such way of countering the situation by controlling excessive consumption.
The tax will primarily be levied on fizzy drinks that are considered to be the main contributors towards obesity. For every 100ml drink that exceeds the 8g benchmark, a tax of 24p per liter will be imposed. It doesn’t matter who ends up paying it. Either way, both the manufacturers and the consumers will be affected by the decision. The law will not hold any application for fruit juices since they are believed to contain no added sugars.
In the later stage of this prevention program, a tax will be imposed on other food products. Government is now considering to introduce a pudding tax to a wide range of food items. The products to be targeted include chocolates, sweets, ice creams, yogurts and biscuits.
If the law is properly implemented, it can set an example for other countries to follow suit.
How effectively will the program check the rising obesity rate?
Only time will tell us.