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  1. ITV Report

ITV News survey: More than 70% of public health experts back sugar tax

72% of health officials backed a 'sugar tax'. Credit: ITV News

More than 70% of health professionals would support a tax on sugary foods and drinks, according to an ITV News survey.

For the study, the Royal Society of Public Health surveyed their members on whether they would support a levy which saw funding raised put back into healthcare.

420 senior figures working in the NHS and public health responded.

In an overwhelming response, 72% of members said they would either strongly support or slightly support the proposal, which was put forward in a major report by Public Health England on Thursday.

David Cameron has been urged to introduce the sugar levy. Credit: Reuters

Only 13% were strongly opposed to it, while 7% were slightly opposed.

The study comes amid growing pressure on David Cameron to introduce the measure.

Downing Street has said the Prime Minister does not "see a need" for the measure, but admitted he had also not yet read the report - which also urged the withdrawal of cut-price offers on sugary goods in shops, supermarkets and restaurants.

70,000
estimated number of deaths a year due to poor diet (source: BMA)
£6bn
estimated annual cost to NHS as the result of poor diets (source: BMA)

Public Health England's other recommendations included a restriction on advertising of high-sugar goods and ensuring hospitals and leisure centres provided healthier foods.

After a number of health experts backed the introduction of a sugar levy since the report's publication, Jamie Oliver, a campaigner on the issue, also urged the government to be "bold and brave" by adopting the proposal.

Other figures in the industry have questioned whether the move would have the desired impact, however, with the Food and Drink federation saying: "We do not agree that the international evidence supports the introduction of a sugar tax and for this reason would oppose such a move."

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