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A tax on sugary drinks can only be the start

Image representing A tax on sugary drinks can only be the start

BSPD response to the Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Rush programme

 It’s difficult to imagine anyone in the UK having the charisma and influence to demonstrate so powerfully the negative effects of sugar on teeth as Jamie Oliver did in his campaigning programme Sugar Rush, broadcast on September 3.

 The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (BSPD) is delighted that the TV chef turned lobbyist has raised awareness of the close correlation between sugar and dental decay and that he succeeded in highlighting how much added sugar there is in some food and drinks.

 Claire Stevens, media spokesperson for BSPD, said that Jamie’s influence would support the advice of the dental profession to limit intake of sugar and to look at food and drink labeling more carefully.

 As a result of the programme, a petition calling for a tax on sugary drinks has achieved 125,000 signatures which means that Parliament will consider a debate on the subject.

Claire said: “This is a terrific achievement. The programme conveyed very powerfully how damaging sugar is to teeth and to health generally. But the campaign needs to continue - the unacceptably high levels of dental decay in children can’t be solved with a tax on sugary drinks alone.”

 “For every family and every community there are different challenges to be taken into account, whether it’s access to dental services, availability of preventive advice, the amount of fluoride in their water, how children are weaned and the type of diet they grow up with.”

 “Another key challenge in some communities is social deprivation and this has just been highlighted very well this week in a report from the National Children’s Bureau: Poor Beginnings: Health Inequalities among young children across England based on official data published by Public Health England.”

Claire continued: “We need to be careful that the general public receive clear and consistent messages, such as:

  • a dental check by the age of one
  • brushing twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste
  • a national programme of prevention (akin to Childsmile in Scotland)
  • minimising snacking and keeping sweetened food and drinks to mealtimes
  • clear and consistent food labelling

 “We must work with food and drink manufacturers who have already made efforts in some quarters in reforming products and reducing sugar content. Transparent food labeling will make it easier for consumers to make healthy choices, which we would like to see incentivised.”

 “This can only be the beginning. We stand by the British Dental Association’s call for the Government to implement the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition to reduce sugar intake and the British Medical Association’s call for a tax on all sugar products.“

 “We welcome Jamie’s enthusiasm but hope that he will also demonstrate staying power and continue to work alongside the dental and medical professions to reduce both dental caries and obesity.”

Posted by Gemma

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