Sugar addiction costs NHS £500 million a year

Report into nation's consumption of sugar reveals impact on the NHS

Tackling the nation’s sugar habit could save the NHS £500 million a year, according to a Public Health England (PHE) report.

The country should be getting less than 5% of its energy from sugar, yet the current figure is up to 15%.

Recommendations in the report Sugar Reduction: The Evidence for Action include the introduction of a sugar tax of up to 20%, a crack down on marketing of unhealthy products to children, and healthier hospital food.

PHE’s call for clearer labelling echoes calls from TV chef Jamie Oliver for food labels to show how many teaspoons of sugar they contain.

Buy-one-get-one-free offers on sugary foods could be outlawed. The report found such deals can account for 40% of the contents of supermarket trolleys.

Nearly two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese, as are almost a fifth of 10 to 11 year olds. Treating obesity and its consequences costs the NHS £5.1 billion a year, according to the report.

PHE chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone said she wanted to see ‘fewer people suffering the consequences of too much sugar in their diet’.

If the nation drops its sugar intake to recommended levels in the next decade, more than 4,000 early deaths could be avoided, says the report, with the burden of diseases such as diabetes reduced, saving the NHS around £480 million a year.


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