HEALTH MINISTER LEO Varadkar today called for a 20% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks (SSDs).
Launching a study that found some 60% of the Irish public are either overweight or obese, Varadkar said he has asked Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to consider introducing a levy on sugary drinks in the upcoming budget.
The measure has long been supported by public health experts, and University College Cork (UCC) researchers today said the proposed tax would have “a measurable effect on the scale of [Ireland's obesity] epidemic”.
According to a soon-to-be-released study undertaken by the university’s Centre for Health and Diet Research, 82% of Cork children between the ages of and 10 consume SSDs.
The research found that consumers of SSDs were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese compared to non-consumers, and that an increase in consumption of one additional can of soft-drink per day (330ml) is associated with an average increase in body weight of 1kg (2.2lbs).
“Our research has shown that obese children consume on average 30% more of these drinks than that consumed by normal weight children,” UCC’s Dr Janas Harrington, the study’s co-principal investigator, said.
We are allowing our children to develop lifetime addictions to SSDs, the consequences of which will have a significant health impact on their generation if left unchecked.
We’re asking: Should sugary drinks be taxed?