FSEM Welcomes Sugar Levy Announcement

The Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK (FSEM) welcomes the announcement in the budget of a tax on the sugar content of soft drinks with an estimated £520m a year to be spent on increasing the funding for sport in primary schools.

The FSEM is promoting the importance of regular physical activity for children and adults, alongside a healthy and balanced diet, to prevent many common diseases related to obesity such as, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of 30 national health charities, medical colleges and campaign groups, including the FSEM UK, joined forces in 2015 to urge the Government to help combat the epidemic of obesity and its costly consequences for the NHS. 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 and sustained investment in active travel.