UK Health Minister Helen Whately on Monday said that there was evidence that the government’s tariff on sugar based drinks had been spent encouraging companies to cut down on sugar and their products.
However, he said the package announced on Monday would not include other tax options and would therefore focus on other interventions such as the NHS Weight Loss application and restrictions on free-to-one advertising and offer.
The announcement will disappoint some health advocates and doctors who say that tax incentives for junk food can encourage people to make healthy decisions, especially those that cause a childhood obesity epidemic.
“In the policies we present today, there are two sides to it: one to support people in changing some of their best decision-making methods, in weight loss when they want to lose weight,” the minister told the BBC.
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“That for example gives people access to the NHS weight loss program so that people can follow a 12-week plan, stay healthy, eat healthy, and lose weight.
“It’s also about controlling some of the influences that mean people make less healthy choices than they would like – so that look at commercials, the free-to-one offers, those kinds of things for people to make the kind of choices they might want to make.”
During the general election campaign Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to impose a new tax on certain sugar and oil products. Such a goal was supported by former medical chief Dame Sally Davis, who was replaced by Chris Whitty last year.
Campaign groups such as Action on Action on Sugar and Action on Salt said the government’s policy of allowing producers to control their own food supply has failed and has led to childhood obesity.
The NHS in England said 11,117 hospitalizations in 2018-19 were directly caused by obesity and 876,000 were the cause, an increase of 23 percent last year.
26 percent of men and 29 percent of women are clinically obese, 67 percent of men and 60 percent of women are overweight respectively. The health ministry estimates that 20 percent of 6-year-olds are overweight, and their beauty can triple in height
vThe think-tank Institute of Fiscal Study (IFS) said government-sponsored policies could have a positive impact on healthy spending, but companies could try to find vacancies.