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Tax on soft drinks needed to help combat obesity

Doctors across the UK have called for a number of measures to put in place to help tackle the nation’s growing rates of obesity and prevent obesity-related disorders, such as type 2 diabetes .
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has put forward a 10-point action plan, which includes hiking the cost of sugary soft drinks by a fifth, reducing the number of fast food outlets near schools, colleges and leisure centres, and banning the sale of unhealthy food and drink in hospitals.
In a report, the academy says doctors are “united in seeing the epidemic of obesity as the greatest public health crisis facing the UK”, as the consequences of obesity include heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
It says that attempts by previous and current governments to combat obesity have been “disappointingly ineffective and woefully inadequate”, especially with recent figures showing that 1 in 4 adults in England are obese and that treatment for obesity and its complications costs the NHS an estimated £5.1bn a year.
To prevent the problem “becoming unresolvable”, the academy is calling for a dramatic increase in efforts by parents, ministers, local councils, the NHS, and food firms to reverse widespread unhealthy habits.
“Just as the challenges of persuading society that the deeply embedded habit of smoking was against its better interests, changing how we eat and exercise is now a matter of necessity,” it adds.
Other points in the group’s anti-obesity action plan include health professionals discussing lifestyle habits with overweight patients, a ban on TV ads for unhealthy foods before the 9pm watershed, advice for new parents on how to feed their babies properly, and more NHS investment in weight management programmes.
The report, which has been welcomed by celebrity chef and anti-obesity campaigner Jamie Oliver, comes just a week after it was reported that a woman’s death was triggered by her serious addiction to Coca-Cola, which saw her consuming up to 10 litres of the soft drink every day.

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