Tax on soft drinks would reduce obesity levels

6th October 2015 - Deirdre Clune MEP

I would like to join The Royal College of Physicians of Ireland- Policy Group on Obesity who are calling for the Minister for Finance to introduce a 20% tax on sugar sweetened drinks in the upcoming 2014 Budget.

I have been campaigning for health eating policies in schools and I would like to fully support the RCPI Policy Group in their efforts to curb the amount of sugary drinks which are being consumed in Ireland.

Drinks like fizzy cola or orange have no nutritional benefits to the human body and if they are consumed regularly they can result in a person being overweight or even obese.

In the past, I have written to the Minister for Education to encourage schools to ban the consumption of fizzy drinks on campus and also to remove vending machines on all property used for educational purposes.

Some people regularly drink sugary substances like sports drinks, unaware that consuming just one of these drinks a day can considerably add to your calorie intake.

This problem is not going away, one in four Irish schoolchildren are classified as overweight or obese and the Government must act to tackle this problem.

According to the World Health Organisation and the EU, the epidemic of childhood obesity is the most important public health problem in the developed world.

If a sugar tax was introduced, it would go some way towards reducing direct and indirect costs of obesity.

The cost of obesity to the state in 2009 was estimated at €1.13bn, this is due to direct healthcare costs and the cost of lost productivity due to the many illnesses for which are associated with obesity.

The government has a lead role in ensuring and improving the health of the next generation and it needs to take action to prioritise public health.

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