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Education, not tax, is the answer
7:00am Monday 2nd December 2013 in News
WEAVER Vale MP Graham Evans believes educating parents and their children, rather than a tax on sugary drinks, is the way forward to tackle obesity in the area.
Food Active, a north of England-wide campaign launched by the Health Equalities Group, calls for a tax on sugary drinks, after research at Liverpool John Moores University showed people are unaware of the link between consumption and weight gain.
Mr Evans welcomed the group’s proactive approach, but believes teaching parents the importance of nutrition and exercise is the way forward.
“I believe that making parents aware of exactly what they are feeding their children is a better, long term solution than placing taxes on sugary drinks,” he said.
“Childhood obesity is an issue which looks set to have a greater impact on both children’s standards of living and the cost of healthcare, due to long term conditions associated with obesity.”
However, Labour parliamentary candidate for Weaver Vale Julia Tickridge believes the Government should be doing more to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis, adding a limit should be put on sugar, salt and fat levels in children’s food.
“It is clear that their voluntary approach is not working,” she said.
“I commend Food Active and their campaign for bringing it to people’s attention.
“I support Labour’s consultation on whether new limits on sugar, salt and fat content in food aimed at children and think it would be a better way forward.
“This would help parents in Weaver Vale protect their children from foods that contain excessive levels of sugar, salt and fat in a way that a tax wouldn’t.
“The Government has failed to come up with a convincing plan to tackle this challenge. If we fail to act, we are in danger of storing up huge problems for the country and the NHS in the long term.”
Dr Hannah Timpson, health and wellbeing researcher at the Centre for Public Health, Liverpool John Moores University, lent support to Food Active’s call for a tax.
“Our research reveals a public that is well informed when it comes to the impact of sugary drinks on the health of your teeth, but less aware of the link between regular sugary drink consumption and weight gain,” she explained.
“The research found that most people were not against the idea of a tax, but had varying views about the level of tax, and whether it would be effective.”
The Food Active campaign also seeks restrictions on the marketing of junk food to children and young people, as well as improved spatial planning measures to encourage physical activity.
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