As Ireland leads the way in European childhood obesity rates the Irish Heart Foundation calls for a 20% tax on sugar sweetened drinks and subsidies on fruit and vegetables
They have little or no nutritional value and are packed full of calories, so why do we persist in giving our children sugary drinks?
In an attempt to reduce childhood obesity, the Irish Heart Foundation has called for a 20% tax on sugar sweetened drinks and the move is supported by a majority of the public.
A recent poll carried out for the Irish Heart Foundation by Ipsos MRBI showed that fifty-two per cent of the public are in favour of the tax with 87% of the population believing that sugar sweetened drinks contribute to obesity among children and young people.
Barry Dempsey, chief executive of the Irish Heart Foundation, the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke said:
“These figures clearly demonstrate that Irish people want the Government to take stronger action to tackle childhood obesity and that they understand the role that sugar sweetened drinks have in this developing health crisis,”
The Irish Heart Foundation is calling for a 20% tax on sugary drinks in the Budget, raising around €60 million in extra tax revenue. In the Budget, the Foundation is also asking for funding to be allocated towards subsidies on fruit and vegetables, along with the establishment of a Children’s Health Fund to promote good nutrition through education and skills, as well as providing healthier meals in the country’s schools.
‘Sugar sweetened drinks have little or no nutritional value and they are packed with calories. The introduction of a tax to drive down consumption of these beverages seems like a no-brainer to protect our children’ continued Mr Dempsey.
According to Prof Donal O’Shea, consultant endocrinologist, Head of the Obesity Management Clinic, Loughlinstown and Chair of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Nutrition Council,
“The obesity problem is public health concern Number One – as the World Health Organisation says our children are getting fatter – and Ireland are leading the way in European childhood obesity rates
“We now have the evidence to act. There is convincing data that reducing consumption of sugar sweetened drinks improves the weight and health of children and adolescents. In Ireland we consume 83 litres of carbonated drinks per capita, with teenage boys as the country’s biggest consumers.”