Lifestyle & Belief

UK soft drink tax: Doctors urge a 20 percent tax on fizzy drinks

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Seventeen year-old Marissa Hamilton stands on a scale during her weekly weigh-in at the Wellspring Academy in Reedley, California, a special school that helps teens and college level students lose weight along with academic courses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16 percent of children in the US ages 6-19 years are overweight or obese, three times as many since 1980.

Credit:

Justin Sullivan

UK's doctors have called for a 20 percent tax on soft drinks and have asked for junk food advertisements to be banned.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents almost every one of the the UK's 220,000 doctors, have also asked for fewer fast food outlets near schools and have asked for a ban on unhealthy snack in hospitals as a countermeasure to the country's rising obesity rates.

According to the academy, obesity is the greatest public health crisis facing the UK. One in four adults is obese, and these figures are only expected to rise. According to the academy, by 2050 60 percent of men, 50 percent of women and 25 percent of children will be obese.

"The consequences of obesity include diabetes, heart disease and cancer and people are dying needlessly from avoidable diseases," wrote the academy, the Guardian reported.

Professor Terence Stephenson, chairman of the academy, said that the report was not a full solution to obesity, and that there is no "silver bullet" to tackling widespread obesity, the BBC reported.

However, the Food and Drink Federation, which represents industry leaders and manufactures, said that the academy's report didn't add much to the current debate, pointing out that the report didn't recognize the role alcohol played in obesity, and that it made no mention of increasing exercise.