The average teenager guzzles almost a bathtub full of sugary drinks every year, new research suggests.
Data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey sheds a shocking light on the extreme sugar consumption of teenagers and children in the UK.
It found that those aged between 11 and 18 years old drink almost a bathtub full of sugary drinks on average a year. While four to 10 year olds drink the equivalent of almost half a bathtub annually.
Sugary drinks can lead to obesity and carrying too much weight increases the risk of cancer as well as other diseases, according to Cancer Research UK.
“The UK has an epidemic on its hands, and needs to act now,” a spokesperson for the charity warned.
Adults and young children consume twice the maximum recommended amount of added sugar.
Meanwhile 11 to 18 year olds eat and drink three times the recommended limit, with sugary drinks being their main source of added sugar.
Obese children are around five times more likely to grow into obese adults, and carrying too much weight increases the risk of cancer as well as other diseases.
A recent Cancer Research UK report showed that a 20p per litre sugar tax could prevent 3.7 million cases of obesity over the next decade.
Alison Cox, director of prevention at Cancer Research UK, said: “It’s shocking that teenagers are drinking the equivalent of a bathtub of sugary drinks a year.
“We urgently need to stop this happening and the good news is that the Government’s sugar tax will play a crucial role in helping to curb this behaviour.
“The ripple effect of a small tax on sugary drinks is enormous, and it will give soft drinks companies a clear incentive to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks.
“When coupled with the Government’s plan to reduce sugar in processed food, we could really see an improvement to our diets.
“But the Government can do more to give the next generation a better chance, by closing the loop hole on junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed.
She concluded: “The UK has an epidemic on its hands, and needs to act now.”