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Public Health England encouraging 20% sugar cuts by 2020

28 March 2017

Public Health England encouraging 20% sugar cuts by 2020

In a bid to make UK children healthier, Public Health England have encouraged businesses to cut sugar by 20% by 2020, and 5% this year, the BBC reports

This comes after the UK government announced a sugar tax on sugar-sweetened drinks last year. 

New limits have been suggested for foods such as chocolate bars, cereal and sweets, with the food industry challenged to lower sugar levels, reduce product size or push healthier products. 

The guidelines apply to retailers and manufacturers as well as coffee shops and fast food restaurants, which are believed to be responsible for an increased calorie intake.

These suggestions come as a response to children consuming three times more sugar than they should each day, which can lead to weight gain and poor oral health.  At present, one in five children are overweight when they start primary school, a figure that rises to a concerning one in three by secondary school. 

In addition, the BDA have recognised that nearly a quarter of the added sugar in our diet comes from soft drinks and children aged 11-18 get 40% of their added sugars from soft drinks.  This, along with other factors, has led to tooth decay being the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children. 

As well as tooth decay, children are at an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers in adulthood.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England (PHE), said children from deprived backgrounds were more likely to be affected by obesity.

"Tackling the amount of sugar we eat is not just a healthy thing to do, but an issue of inequality for many families.

"If businesses achieve these guidelines, 200,000 tonnes of sugar could be removed from the UK market per year by 2020."

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