Britain may have to introduce a sugar tax to curb soaring obesity rates, it’s been claimed.
Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, said food and drink manufacturers were unlikely to reformulate their products unless the government was tougher with them.
The National Health Service says 24% of men and 26% of women were obese in 2011, up from 13% and 16%, respectively, in 2003. Obesity is estimated to cost the NHS £5.1bn (€6.19bn) a year.
Dame Sally, speaking at a health select committee meeting in London, said research would find sugar addictive and that a tax may need to be introduced.
She added: “We have a generation of children, who, because they’re overweight and their lack of activity, may well not live as long as my generation. They will be the first generation that lives less and that is of great concern.”
Terry Jones, of the Food and Drink Federation, who represents the UK food and drink manufacturing industry, told the Independent newspaper: “Sugars, or any other nutrient for that matter, consumed as part of a varied and balanced diet are not a cause of obesity, to which there is no simple or single solution.”