A recent Cancer Research UK survey reveals a new alarming increase in UK teenagers’ consumption of soft drinks in 2015 after rates had dropped in 2014.
The amount of sugar that children from all age groups are now consuming, by sipping on soft drinks, is unprecedented, and could be contributing to the year-on-year high rate of increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
The figures provided by Cancer Research indicate that teenagers drink enough sugar every year to fill a bathtub.
The sugar content found in most sugary drinks does not show any sign of appreciable decline either, despite numerous calls by associations to have these products reformulated.
A single can of cola contains 35g of sugar, on average, and teenagers and adults should ingest no more than 30g of added sugars during their entire day.
The study also shows that the young generation starts to consume these products very early on in their formative years.
Pre-school children are thought to drink the equivalent of nearly 70 cans of fizzy cola a year, and this number rises to 110 cans a year once they reach four to 10 years of age.
The survey shows that, by the time children get into their teenage years, they are consuming the equivalent to more than 234 cans a year. That’s 77 litres, or around 17 gallons, of sugary drinks being consumed on average. This means many teenagers will be drinking much more than this.
A five per cent tax on sugary drinks – with the exception of those who are lactose-based – is expected to come into effect soon.
It will see that soft drinks companies pay the charge every time the sugar content of one of their drinks exceeds 5g of sugar per 100ml.
Benedict Jephcote, Head of Education at Diabetes.co.uk, said: “To truly tackle the problem, there will need to be more than levies; we will need to see a complete culture change to stop sugary drinks from being regarded as a ‘normal drink’.”

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