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Pudding tax suggested as new data reveals childhood overconsumption of sugar

Wednesday 2nd January 2019
A leading dietician has hinted that Public Health England could back moves to tax sugary foods in a similar manner to the soft drinks levy.
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New figures from Public Health England (PHE) have indicated that the average child consumes 18 year's worth of sugar in their first ten years, prompting one expert to call for a 'pudding tax'.

Dr Alison Tedstone, the organisation's chief nutritionist, told the Daily Telegraph the message to ministers about the need to discourage the consumption of sugary foods will need to be a strong one if there is not a significant improvement by the time the next set of figures are published. 

She remarked: "We will be very clear to government if it is not good enough. We would be saying that other actions are needed."

The study found that children are consuming eight more cubes of sugar per day than the recommended daily maximum from the age of two, which adds up to 2,800 more than they should every year. This is leading to record levels of obesity among children aged between seven and 11.

While PHE may push for the government to act on sugary foods in the same way they have done on soft drinks, it is currently focusing on its Change4Life campaign. This encourages parents to "make a swap when you next shop". 

This involves changing food with high sugar content for something else by shopping more carefully when it comes to items such as yoghurts, drinks and cereals. 

Indeed, the campaign states that parents can switch from the equivalent of six sugar cubes to three by swapping a high-sugar yoghurt for a lower sugar version. The former include split-pot products where substances like jam or chocolate can be added to the mix. 

Swapping a sugary juice drink to a no-added sugar version can cut intake from two cubes to half of one, while changing from a sugary cereal - such as one with frosted flakes or infused with chocolate - to a plain one will cut intake from three cubes to a half. 

By undertaking these steps every day, parents could lower their children's sugar intake by around 2,500 cubes a year.

Written by Martin Lambert

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