The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), a coalition of 30 national health charities, medical colleges and campaign groups, yesterday welcomed the announcement in the Budget of a tax on the soft drinks industry.
They said in a joint statement:
This is a moment to celebrate. We’ve been campaigning for a tax on sugar sweetened drinks, amongst other measures, to be part of the childhood obesity strategy so we’re delighted that the Chancellor has brought this measure forward. High sugar consumption is contributing to the obesity crisis, which has a high cost both to people’s health and the public purse.
Almost two thirds of adults and a third of children in the UK are overweight or obese, which are potent risk factors for serious health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, a range of cancers and stroke, all of which can have a complex relationship with mental health.
We’re pleased that the Government has listened to the evidence from Public Health England and public support for a tax on sugar sweetened drinks to curb the rising tide of obesity.
The Alliance has also called for further measures to deal with the obesity crisis, including restrictions on marketing junk food to children and reformulation of food to reduce levels of salt, fat and sugar.
Notes to editors
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Obesity Health Alliance
The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) is a coalition of 30 national organisations which have come together to represent the unified voice of the public health sector on issues relating to overweight and obesity in the UK. We seek to share expertise and to support government in tackling the complex issue of overweight and obesity.
The alliance is the first coalition of its size to support the long term goal of tackling obesity across the life course, and we are growing. Our organisations are diverse and bring a wealth of expertise, spanning the medical, nursing, charity, and public health fields. United, we represent the views of hundreds of thousands of health professionals and public health experts across the UK.
The membership of the OHA currently comprises: Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Action on Sugar, Association for the Study of Obesity, Association of Directors of Public Health, British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, British Heart Foundation, British Medical Association, British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society, British Society of Gastroenterology, Cancer Research UK, Children's Food Campaign, Diabetes UK, Faculty of Public Health, Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Health Equalities Group, Institute for Health Visiting, Jamie Oliver Food Foundation, Men’s Health Forum, National Obesity Forum, Royal College of General Practitioners, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Anaesthetists, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Royal College of Physicians, Royal College of Psychiatrists, Royal College of Surgeons, Royal Society for Public Health, Society for Endocrinology, UK Health Forum, and World Cancer Research Fund UK.
The OHA has produced a joint position statement which outlines 10 urgent population-level policy interventions for government, retailers and health professionals. We believe these measures, implemented in conjunction, will reduce rates of overweight and obesity and address the social inequality and cultural differences in overweight and obesity prevalence.