News Recipe for Change

Clear association between soft drinks consumption and obesity in adolescents globally

A new global study, involving 107 countries and 405,528 adolescents has found a positive correlation between the prevalence of daily soft drink consumption and the prevalence of overweight and obesity.

Cans. Credit: Pexels

Cans. Credit: Pexels

New global research from the Wolfson Institute at Queen Mary University in London has found a statistically significant association between daily soft drink consumption and overweight and obesity among school-going adolescents across 107 countries. The consumption of soft drinks contributed to around 12% of the variations in overweight and obesity rates among adolescents across different countries.

This research strongly reinforces the need for policies such as the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) which is currently in force in the UK, as well as the benefit of extending the SDIL to cover drinks not currently included, such as milk-based drinks and fruit juices. 

Kawther Hashem, Campaign Lead for Action on Sugar says: 

“The UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy has been remarkable and unique in encouraging reformulation and has already resulted in removing 46,000 tonnes of sugar from soft drinks between 2015 and 2020 and raised £334m in 2021-22 alone – all of which was invested in children’s health and wellbeing programmes. The same could be achieved either by mandatory targets or by creating a levy to reduce excess calories (whilst not exceeding salt or sugar), but we need a firm commitment from the Government first.”  

Read Action on Sugar’s announcement and the full study.

The World Health Organisation has produced a series of reports looking at insights from the introduction of taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in several countries and how they can be an effective population-wide measure for addressing diet-related health conditions.  

Published Tuesday 25 July 2023

Recipe for Change: Recipe for Change is calling for an industry levy to help make food healthier.

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