Will the Sugar Tax help reduce childhood obesity rates?


The Sugar Tax was finally introduced into the UK last week, two years after it was announced. The tax is expected to raise approximately £240 million per year – which will be invested back into schools sports and breakfast clubs.


The sugar levy will increase the price per litre of drinks that have sugar content over a certain threshold. Drinks that contain over 5g of sugar per 100ml will see an increase in price of 18p per litre, while those containing more than 8g per 100 ml could increase by 24p per litre. The tax comes as a major attempt from the government to reduce the public’s sugar consumption levels and therefore tackling worrying obesity levels.


Sugar Tax Introduced in the UK
Picture via Metro
Public Health England recommended that the maximum daily sugar intake for children aged between seven to ten is six cubes. Putting this into perspective, just one regular 330ml can of cola contains nine cubes of sugar, which already surpasses the maximum recommended intake. High sugar consumption is an extremely large contributing factor to 58% of women and 68% of men being classed as overweight (Telegraph) and more shockingly, one in three children leaving primary school at 11 either overweight or obese.


Obesity can have a number of serious health implications, including some life-threatening conditions. These could include an increased chance of developing diabetes, certain types of cancer, strokes or coronary heart diseases. As well as physical health implications – there are also potential mental health issues as a result of obesity, including low self-esteem or depression (NHS).


There have been both positive and negative reactions from soft drinks companies in reaction to the tax. For example, it is believed that half of all drinks have seen a reduction in sugar content before the tax was introduced – including large companies such as Fanta, Lucozade and Ribena. However, not all companies have made recipe changes, with Pepsi and Coca-Cola’s sugar content remaining at 11g and 10.6g per 100ml respectively (BBC).


While the Sugar Tax is definitely a big step in addressing the nation’s health issues, it has to be followed up with other initiatives, targeted at further increasing activity levels and reducing sugars in foods such as cakes, biscuits or cereal. Currently, children are still getting too many calories from unhealthy snacks and not reaching their targeted activity levels.


The Bugs Group believe that continuing the work that the Sugar Tax has started and by introducing similar procedures to food products will help to raise more funds to be invested back into school’s PE and Sport Premium Funding and further educating young people and their parents on the importance of exercise. While the results of the Sugar Tax may not be known for a few months, we hope to see the number of sugar drinks being consumed reduce and both childhood and national obesity figures to decrease.


The Bugs Group run fun and engaging school sports classes, community classes and holiday camps across the UK. We aim to give all children a positive experience of exercise and sport – helping them to continue to remain active as they grow older. If you would like any more information about our programmes, please click here to view our website or call us on 0121 777 7792.

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