Sugar tax will not tackle obesity

The Irish Beverage Council, the Ibec group that represents soft drinks companies, today reacted to the introduction of a sugar-sweetened drink tax.

Irish Beverage Council Director, Colm Jordan, said: “We’ve been offering low-sugar drinks for 30 years. We will continue to reduce sugar content and increase our no-sugar / low-sugar offering to reflect consumer taste and choice.

Obesity is a complex societal issue. Where similar taxes were introduced, obesity rates increased. The Department of Health’s own assessment found no conclusive evidence a tax will impact population weight. We are committed to working with Government on solutions that deliver real public health benefits.

“Taxing one ingredient in some sugary drinks, but not all sugary drinks, will not combat the complex challenge of obesity.”

Notes to the Editor:
    Certainly, there is no conclusive evidence that a specific tax on sugar sweetened drinks will impact on population weight”. Page 5 of Proposed Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax: Health Impact Assessment published by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland.
    The Health Impact Assessment concluded: “The evidence linking sugar sweetened drink consumption with weight gain is suggestive but not conclusive. The literature is contradictory and study quality tends to be described as low to medium” p.60
    Soft drink companies removed 10 billion calories from the national diet from 2005 to 2012 by reformulating to reduce sugar content. 10 percent of all sugar contributed to the Irish diet by soft drinks was reduced in these seven years. Food Drink Ireland data
    NCD-RisC is a network of health scientists around the world that provides data on non-communicable diseases for all the world’s countries. Below data taken from http://www.ncdrisc.org/
    Mexico % Obesity
    Male Female
    2008 20.4 29.2
    2009 20.9 29.7
    2010 21.4 30.2
    2011 22 30.8
    2012 22.6 31.3
    2013 23.1 31.9
    2014 23.7 32.4

    France % Obesity
    Male Female
    2008 19.5 19.8
    2009 19.9 20.2
    2010 20.3 20.5
    2011 20.7 20.8
    2012 21.1 21.2
    2013 21.5 21.5
    2014 22 21.9

    Hungary % Obesity
    Male Female
    2008 21.6 19.7
    2009 22 19.8
    2010 22.4 19.9
    2011 22.8 20
    2012 23.1 20.1
    2013 23.5 20.2
    2014 23.8 20.3
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