Medical chief: May need sugar tax to tackle obesity

A "sugar tax" may have to be introduced to curb child and adult obesity, the chief medical officer for England has warned.

Live updates

Labour: Imposing sugar tax 'is not fair'

Shadow public health minister Luciana Berger wrote on Twitter:

Medical chief: 'We have normalised being overweight'

Britain has "normalised being overweight" and needs to get a tough grip on the UK's sugar addiction, the chief medical officer has told MPs.

Speaking at the health select committee, Professor Dame Sally Davies warned promoting physical education would not be enough to solve the obesity crisis.

I worry that we have re-sized a women's dress size so that a size 14 now was a size 12 when I was student. We have normalised being overweight.

We have to find a new way - not of ostracising people who are obese and making them feel bad about themselves - but somehow of helping them to understand this is pathological and will cause them harm.

We have a generation of children who because they are overweight and lack activity may not live as long as my generation; they will be the first generation who will live less.

– Professor Dame Sally Davies


Readers unimpressed by 'sugar tax' idea

ITV News readers have spoken overwhelmingly against the suggestion of a 'sugar tax', made by England's chief medical officer in response to the country's obesity crisis.

At the time of writing, not a single response on Twitter or the ITV News Facebook page has supported the idea floated by Dame Sally Davies.

Aren't the public ever going to be allowed to be responsible for their own health? I am getting so fed up with being told what I can and can't eat.

– Steffie Hilgers

The government should focus on making healthy food cheap and stop food prices rocketing.

– Lucy Taylor

I actually think medical "experts" are a bigger threat to personal freedoms than the police, secret services, GCHQ, etc.

– Iain Gold

Sugar tax may be necessary, warns medical chief

The government may be forced into imposing a 'sugar tax', England's chief medical officer has warned. Credit: Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

A "sugar tax" may be inevitable if the government cannot take strong action to reduce levels in food and drink, England's chief medical officer has warned.

Speaking to MPs this afternoon, Dame Sally Davies said that she expected research to show that "sugar is addictive".

Dame Sally told the House of Commons health committee that the government must be "strong" with food and drink manufacturers, as they wouldn't cut sugar levels themselves.

Until then, she warned: "We may need to move toward some kind of sugar tax, but I hope we don't have to."

In October, experts from Oxford and Reading universities argued a 20% tax on sugary drinks would cut the number of overweight people in the UK by 285,000.

Back to top