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Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:12 AM

Tax fizzy drinks and ban junk food ads, say UK doctors

Source: BBC

Fizzy drinks should be heavily taxed and junk food adverts banished until after the watershed, doctors have said, in a call for action over obesity.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, which represents nearly every doctor in the UK, said ballooning waistlines already constituted a "huge crisis". Its report said current measures were failing and called for unhealthy foods to be treated more like cigarettes.

Its recommendations include:

A ban on advertising foods high in saturated fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
Further taxes on sugary drinks to increase prices by at least 20%
A reduction in fast food outlets near schools and leisure centres
A £100m budget for interventions such as weight-loss surgery
No junk food or vending machines in hospitals, where all food must meet the same nutritional standards as in schools
Food labels to include calorie information for children


Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21478314



Not sure this is enough on it's own to tackle what is actually quite a complex issue.

27 replies, 2676 views

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Reply Tax fizzy drinks and ban junk food ads, say UK doctors (Original post)
T_i_B Feb 2013 OP
onwardsand upwards Feb 2013 #1
magellan Feb 2013 #2
Orrex Feb 2013 #3
whistler162 Feb 2013 #4
keroro gunsou Feb 2013 #5
Sunlei Feb 2013 #6
T_i_B Feb 2013 #8
Sunlei Feb 2013 #12
T_i_B Feb 2013 #20
Sunlei Feb 2013 #25
davidthegnome Feb 2013 #7
Prophet 451 Feb 2013 #10
Sunlei Feb 2013 #26
bhikkhu Feb 2013 #11
davidthegnome Feb 2013 #14
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #16
davidthegnome Feb 2013 #17
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2013 #18
KurtNYC Feb 2013 #13
davidthegnome Feb 2013 #15
mainer Feb 2013 #9
HoneychildMooseMoss Feb 2013 #19
T_i_B Feb 2013 #23
alp227 Feb 2013 #21
dipsydoodle Feb 2013 #22
EastKYLiberal Feb 2013 #24
graham4anything Feb 2013 #27

Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:33 AM

1. Excellent idea!

Why not, also, make them run on treadmills for a couple of hours a day?

Yes, and to exercise their lungs, make them sing patriotic songs!

It's good for them, you know ...

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 07:53 AM

2. It's the logical progression from the way cigarettes are treated

The slippery slope is greased up now.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:21 AM

3. Not Fizzy Lifting Drinks, I hope!

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:24 AM

4. We need to taz something that is really deadly

DiHydrogenMonoxide should be taxed!

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Response to whistler162 (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:31 AM

5. /dopeslap

it's dihydrogran-dioxide that's the real issue.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:32 AM

6. Doctors in the UK call for these health issues to be addressed. USA Dr.s say, bring $ and insurance.

or drop dead plump people.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:09 AM

8. "USA Dr's say bring $ and insurance or drop dead plump people"

That's pretty much what UK politicians would like.

It's certainly the general thrust of the current government's health policy.

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #8)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:43 AM

12. difference is the UK has healthcare for ALL, USA citizens have to pay or crawl to emergency to die

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #12)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 03:08 AM

20. That's exactly what the UK government is trying to dismantle

Look at Andrew Lansley's appalling "reform" of ther NHS.

And then there's the current health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who has co-authored a book caling for the NHS to be privatised. http://eoin-clarke.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/jeremy-hunt-co-authored-book-calling.html

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Response to T_i_B (Reply #20)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:42 AM

25. The UK has the USA as an example of private healthcare fraud/costs,they won't ruin ruin their system

If you get cancer in the UK or get hit by a car, your family doesn't freak out and worry if insurance will pay..or worry how they will pay thousands in deductables.

There's nothing wrong with parts of any system to contract for some services to do the grunt work.

With a panel of professional Doctors oversight I doubt the UK Doctors would allow the private medical fraud scams, like the USA has recently revealed and stopped.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:52 AM

7. Uh, yay for The Nanny State?

This is ridiculous. Ballooning waistlines constituting a "huge crisis", so then it's time to start shutting down those fast food joints, to restrict advertising and to throw a new tax on... sugary drinks. This will result in people having to travel further to reach a fast food joint, having to watch different (but still very annoying) ads before 9 PM - and having to pay a little extra for their soda. The result? Well, a few people might be too bothered to travel further to reach Burger King, or might care enough about the tax to no longer buy sugary drinks. The majority just aren't going to care.

With similar policies being put into practice in various parts of the US (New York, I believe - ban on large sugary drinks in public places) I think what we're going to see is that this has a very negligent effect. What it will ultimately come down to I suspect, is the criminalization of foods high in fat, of sugary drinks and so on. Perhaps not for quite some time yet, as the populace wouldn't take it, but eventually, as these things become more unavailable.

How many here have worked in a fast food joint at one point or another? Granted, it's not the best job, but it helps pay the bills. Now imagine your burger king shutting down because the nanny state has determined it's too close to your school, or "leisure center".

Maybe you work in a hospital. Maybe you like getting the occasional candy bar from the vending machine when you're on the run and have no time to sit down and eat. Well, you can't do that anymore. You'll have different options instead, you know, carrots, celery, maybe they'll even stuff some broccoli in there.

Is the purpose really to improve public health? There are better ways of doing so. Perhaps the purpose is to improve public image, to demonstrate to the world that citizens of the UK aren't as fat as those ridiculous Americans. Let's see which of us can be the better nanny. While we're at it, let's start fining people for things like casual sex, (it's potentially dangerous).

Is it a right of the state to legislate these things? I don't understand enough about the workings of government in the UK, but apparently here in the US it's becoming widely accepted that we can legislate the diet. Considering the power of corporations - and the corporate dollar, within our governments, how long will it be before one of them decides that their particular brand of food or drink is superior... and offers a little incentive to various officials for filling vending machines with it?

The long term implications of this stupidity would be hilarious, if they weren't seriously troubling.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:21 AM

10. The state DOES have the power to legislate such things here

Of course, whether they should is another matter entirely.

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Response to Prophet 451 (Reply #10)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 10:58 AM

26. USA neighborhoods can regulate and fine for, grass height, no cars on sunday,no alcohol, lots more..

In America it is big gov at the state local level that is the most restrictive of personal freedoms.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:43 AM

11. Why assume that things will be taken to extremes? People are generally well-intentioned

and governments are generally competent, and composed of well-intentioned people. A tax on a harmful activity is a nudge towards health, balancing a respect for individual choice.

There are all sorts of examples of government managing this sort of thing well without going overboard, and most people are capable of looking at the problem and seeing what is reasonable and what is not.

I think that only on our US talk radio would a "nudge toward health" be cast as the beginnings of totalitarian control, and only here would a population willing to have a bit of assistance with their diets be cast as a bunch of mommy's boys. Which, of course, is more like simplistic 3rd grade playground slander than actually looking at the issues.

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Response to bhikkhu (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:04 AM

14. Because in the vast majority of cases they are.

Those experiments, of course, tend to go back and forth. I mean, consider the prohibition. I'll grant that it's an extreme example - but it created a whole new kind of criminal. The bootleggers bribed hundreds if not thousands of police and government officials, killed a whole lot of innocents and intimidated many more. This "noble experiment" was inspired, generally, by white protestants who I'm sure felt that they should have the right to tell people what to drink - or what not to drink.

As far as health issues go, hey, I'm all for creating a healthier world - but not if it's done by restricting individual freedom or through a roundabout approach towards forcing people to eat what's good for them. It should always come down to a choice - and while this sort of legislation still permits that, to me it seems but the first (baby) step towards enforcing "thinness".

I believe that people are generally well intentioned, I don't believe the same thing of politicians. Consider the super PACs, the amount of money that went into the last Presidential election. It's entirely possible to buy a Senator, Congress Critter, or what have you - just as it was possible during the Prohibition to buy police, mayors, governors - and so on - to protect your "illegal" operations.

How does any totalitarian regime begin? It is rarely through immediate, urgent power shifting. Rather, it begins with a nudge. While I'm not going so far as to say that this effort is the beginnings of totalitarian control by itself, it is simply one of many policies that wear the mask of concern (in this instance, for citizens health) while the true agenda is something entirely different. Our politicians, our government... wants us to be healthier? Maybe, but not for the reasons you might think. A healthier citizen will live longer, pay taxes longer, contribute more to our twisted society of consumerism and conformity.

Consider mandatory education and it's origins. An entire system of forced education (a ridiculous notion to begin with) - created for the sake of inspiring perfect little worker bees. Of creating and maintaining a land full of conformists, the sort that generally would not "make waves".

It's simply a symptom of the times. Where as you see an honest effort to improve public health, I consider the implications of this taking place during this era of union busting, of education reform, of corporate greed and power unrivaled by any land or any time in history.

I don't love fast food companies or companies, I could live without soda. It's my suspicion though, that soda and fast food will be replaced with some corporate brand of fruit, vegetable, or juice. We'll be healthier, maybe, but we'll also be given more limits on what we can buy. Hand in hand with these slimy corporations, the governments of the west will legislate us into eating whatever fills their pockets and serves their corporate masters.

Sure, I'm paranoid. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #14)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:31 AM

16. It's doctors who want this, not politicians, or corporations

The corporations are the ones selling the unhealthy food, who want to see the consumption stay at high levels. Soda and fast food are far more 'branded' than fruit, vegetables or juice. The politicians are supporting them; when they had a Tory MP on the BBC this morning to comment on this, he said there was no chance of such a tax being introduced.

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Response to muriel_volestrangler (Reply #16)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 12:46 PM

17. Doctors don't pass legislation

Unless they're also politicians.

I suppose I'm something of a pessimist, as I tend to concentrate on the negative aspects of such things. Overall, eating healthier will lead to a healthier population. What I find suspect, are the motives of those who would promote, pass - and ultimately enforce such legislation. Perhaps today's soda products will be replaced by mass produced orange juice. Perhaps our fast food joints will be replaced with restaurants, that, instead, specialize in salads. Is this a bad thing? Not by itself, unless we consider what becomes necessary and/or more convenient with the increase in mass production. Genetically modified fruits and vegetables come to mind. Nutritional benefits will be (and have been) sacrificed for the sake of profit. This should be clear to anyone who has a fair understanding of what our cows eat - these animals that produce our dairy products, beef, and so on. We eat what they eat.

If our governments and health institutions are overall enabled to become solely responsible for our diets, we may become healthier and live longer. The question is what they will do with such control, with such increased authority over the daily lives and activities of their citizens. When we consider the average amount of Nutritional education the average Doctor receives, this is somewhat troubling. It wasn't all that long ago that schools (at least my local schools) peddled the "food pyramid".

Do we have the right to make the wrong decision? Do we have the right to eat things that are bad for us? I suppose the same argument is frequently applied to alcohol and drugs. Well, the war on drugs has failed (even if it is still being fought). The prohibition failed long ago.

I can just imagine a world where we have to have illegal institutions in order to purchase cheese burgers, milk shakes, or soda.

I'm all for better health. I just think we should have the right to seek it for ourselves. Or, the right to choose otherwise.

If we really want a healthier world, perhaps we should be pouring more money into nutritional education. When people understand why they should do something, I think they're more likely to do it than if force is attempted.

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 02:02 PM

18. So it's the doctors you are attacking

"What I find suspect, are the motives of those who would promote, pass - and ultimately enforce such legislation."

It's the doctors promoting this. So it's the motives of doctors you are attacking. Or of any politician who listens, in the future, to the doctors.

"Nutritional benefits will be (and have been) sacrificed for the sake of profit."

Yes, this is the point of the report. You're agreeing with it.

"If our governments and health institutions are overall enabled to become solely responsible for our diets"

Straw man. This is not saying they'd be solely responsible for diet. This is about them providing healthy possibilities (rather than, say, only having junk food vending machines available during night shifts). It's not about banning anything ("I can just imagine a world where we have to have illegal institutions in order to purchase cheese burgers, milk shakes, or soda" - good, because no-one is suggesting banning any type of food or drink). Alcohol isn't banned, in western countries; but it is taxed, with part of the reasoning being to direct people to healthier alternatives.

"I'm all for better health. I just think we should have the right to seek it for ourselves. Or, the right to choose otherwise."

You have the right. But that doesn't mean giving the junk food corporations free rein to make their profits without regulation.

"If we really want a healthier world, perhaps we should be pouring more money into nutritional education"

Recommendation #1:

Education and training programmes for healthcare professionals:
Royal Colleges, Faculties and other professional clinical bodies should
promote targeted education and training programmes within the next two
years for healthcare professionals in both primary and secondary care to
ensure ‘making every contact count’ becomes a reality, particularly for
those who have most influence on patient behaviour


Recommendation #5:
Nutritional standards in schools: The existing mandatory food- and
nutrient-based standards in England should be applied to all schools
including free schools and academies. This should be accompanied by
a new statutory requirement on all schools to provide food skills, including
cooking, and growing – alongside a sound theoretical understanding of
the long-term effects of food on health and the environment from the
2014/15 academic year

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Response to davidthegnome (Reply #7)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:59 AM

13. "Obesity in Young Is Seen as Falling in Several (U.S.) Cities"

The trend has emerged in big cities like New York and Los Angeles, as well as smaller places like Anchorage, Alaska, and Kearney, Neb. The state of Mississippi has also registered a drop, but only among white students.

“It’s been nothing but bad news for 30 years, so the fact that we have any good news is a big story,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, the health commissioner in New York City, which reported a 5.5 percent decline in the number of obese schoolchildren from 2007 to 2011.

The drops are small, just 5 percent here in Philadelphia and 3 percent in Los Angeles. But experts say they are significant because they offer the first indication that the obesity epidemic, one of the nation’s most intractable health problems, may actually be reversing course.
...
Philadelphia has undertaken a broad assault on childhood obesity for years. Sugary drinks like sweetened iced tea, fruit punch and sports drinks started to disappear from school vending machines in 2004. A year later, new snack guidelines set calorie and fat limits, which reduced the size of snack foods like potato chips to single servings. By 2009, deep fryers were gone from cafeterias and whole milk had been replaced by one percent and skim.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/health/childhood-obesity-drops-in-new-york-and-philadelphia.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Name calling and alleged psychic abilities are no match for science and data.

Access to healthy food and water is human right.

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Response to KurtNYC (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:11 AM

15. Well then

I'd appreciate if you could point out where I used any name calling. Perhaps you're referring to my use of the word stupid, to refer to what I believe is a stupid policy.

I also did not say that this would not have an effect. I said that it would be negligent. Which this is.

Access to any food and water should be a human right - with the number of people starving in this world, it's absurd that we're suggesting throwing out food that is "bad for you", it's better than none at all. The implication of this sort of legislation is that we lack the intellect or the reasoning ability to choose for ourselves. So, instead, our governments will begin taking steps to ensure that they can choose for us.

I don't care for fast food - and I could do without soda. The issue isn't (for me) whether or not this will improve public health, it is what the unintended consequences (though, perhaps, intentional on the part of some) of this legislation will be - here or elsewhere.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 10:13 AM

9. Misleading headline. "Fizzy drinks" are not being banned.

It's drinks high in sugar that they want to control.

I highly doubt they want to ban Pellegrino.

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Response to mainer (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 12:51 AM

19. "Fizzy drinks" in the UK

are what Americans would call "sodas", "pop", or "carbonated soft drinks"

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Response to HoneychildMooseMoss (Reply #19)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:06 AM

23. mainer is right about the headline

I've seen this story on a UK discussion forum, and the misleading headline from the BBC has caused all sorts of fuss & pallaver there.

Big difference between taxing sugar in drinks and taxing carbonation in drinks.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 03:30 AM

21. I'd be OK with banning junk food ads ONLY from kids' TV programs.

I'm not comfortable with regulating advertising on adults' TV programs, besides the ban on tobacco TV commercials that Nixon signed into law. But I'm good with a soda tax as long as it's earmarked for public health, education, etc. not the general fund for any local/state gov. But then again these doctors are from a nation that has hate speech laws, so that's why they're willing to sacrifice free speech for the greater good.

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Response to alp227 (Reply #21)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 04:39 AM

22. For clarity

we don't have local taxes other than the general rating system on houses which is used to fund facilities provided and paid for by local councils - road maintenance, waste collection etc. All forms of taxation other than that go direct to the UK government.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 07:36 AM

24. As a person that has struggled with weight their whole life...

 

I wouldn't complain if the government made it more difficult for me to obtain unhealthy foods.

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Response to T_i_B (Original post)

Tue Feb 19, 2013, 11:06 AM

27. Great idea! Wellness rules.

 

Wellness rules and its a start.

What is not so easy to get makes people think a little before indulging.

Like in NYC.
The 48 ounce sodas are banned in some place.

The object is to make people think, and it does work.

(though people in the UK are skinny compared to people in the USA)
That is why they can fit in those speedos and we look ridiculous (not in all cases but in lots of cases).

A 48 ounce soda is 780 calories for a 90-120 minute movie, and they give free refills in movie theatres. I used to indulge.
Since last year I have lost 120 plus pounds and dang I feel better.

And those great snacks when we were kids are really bad for a person.
Same with fried fast food.

There are better things to eat, and slowly but surely, MacDonalds and the rest will adapt and serve different things if they want to survive(some already are doing that).

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