Any public health measure must always consider the financial impact of action. But it is simply misleading to talk about possible financial impact of a measure without also talking about the economic burden we are already facing. The economic argument for action is huge - £27billion a year. That's why we can't afford not to introduce the soft drinks industry levy.
Most of us don't know what an appropriate portion should look like and, following today's article in the BBC, we're under-reporting the amount of calories we eat by almost one-third. Apart from the 80g portion of fruit and vegetables we should eat a day, there are no official UK guidelines on portion sizes. With this in mind, here is my easy guide for understanding portion sizes and it's based on a simple tool - your hand!
Britain has now joined Mexico and France in taxing businesses when they compromise the health of our children. I don't believe it's anti-business. In the UK, kids and teenagers' single largest source of sugar is from sugary sweetened drinks and with one-third of kids overweight or obese, these statistics cannot be taken lightly anymore. Of course, industry totally disagree - what they all agree on is personal responsibility and self-regulation, and look where that got us. The announcement of a sugary drinks tax has sent ripples around the world, especially in countries where they're also struggling with childhood obesity.
Sugar is and will always be a treat, just like a glass of wine or the occasional cigarette but when there are equally bad effects on the health then surely its time that we call a cut on the amount that we consume. It may taste sweet initially, but the long term effects which aren't being showed to us should make you feel bitter.
You may only have thought acute conditions like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating were eating disorders. You'd be wrong. Constant, drastic dieting is not normal behaviour and many experts now consider it is one of the major factors contributing towards the obesity epidemic. A diet is really disordered eating.
Sugar is the latest scapegoat in our fight against obesity. Why? Because we like to find external factors to blame rather than our inability to exert self restraint or improve our eating habits. Sugar inhibits the appetite control mechanisms in the brain which normally stop us eating when we feel full, so if we are to look for a cause, it could be said to fit the bill.
On their own, simple economic measures aimed at tackling some dimension of an unhealthy lifestyle cannot work. What is needed is a deeper understanding of why some people make unhealthy choices while others do not. These may include poverty and lack of information or education, but they may also include cognitive psychological differences.
As a step in the right direction, we're calling for all restaurants, pubs and cafes to give the option of children's portions of adult meals as standard, offered on the menu, not just for those who feel able to ask. we want children to be treated the same, if not better, than adults. It's time for kid's meals to grow up.