Spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum and patron of the Child Growth Foundation, TAM FRY, gives his view on sugars effects on obesity and the sugar tax. He founded the Child Growth Foundation in 1977 and began taking a particular interest in childhood obesity in 1995 when the epidemic was in its infancy, He regrets enormously that his work has come to nought in trying to stem the relentless increase of the problem.
In England, sugar must bear much of the blame for 9.7% of boys and 8.8% of girls being obese by the time they finish their first year at school. It continues to exacerbate the problem such that 20.4% of boys and 17.4% of girls are similarly fat as they enter secondary school. In all, approximately a quarter of our 5yr olds and a third of our 11yrs olds are an unhealthy weight. How awful a statistic is that!. And if that is not shameful enough add in the fact that, because sugar has eroded the enamel on their teeth, dentists are regularly having to remove every single tooth from a child’s mouth.
The current Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt, is correct to call childhood obesity a “ great scandal “ and has promised that the forthcoming strategy to tackle the epidemic will be robust and draconian. A clampdown on the use of sugar in our food and drink must be a priority in the programme of measures and we are getting a clearer idea of the lengths that the government may have to be prepared to go as the sugar levy consultation is discussed. The levy won’t solve the whole problem of course but, if industry dramatically reduces sugar content to escape the levy, literally billions of unwanted calories will have been removed from the food chain. It could be a win-win result.