A fizzy drinks tax one way of tackling obesity

A TAX on sugary drinks would be just one weapon in the fight against obesity, according to the director of public health.

A TAX on sugary drinks would be just one weapon in the fight against obesity, according to the director of public health.

Dr Stephen Bridgman raised the matter in his annual medical officer of health report which was published in November.

Yesterday he backed the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in the UK, which put forward a 10-point plan to tackle the problem to end what it called the UK’s status as the ‘fat man of Europe’.

‘There are many measures, including taxation, which could form part of a strategy for the control of obesity in the islands,’ he said.

Doctors in the UK want to see a 20% increase in the cost of sugary drinks, as they say gross overweight is the ‘greatest public health crisis facing the UK’.

Comments for: "A fizzy drinks tax one way of tackling obesity"

Hbc

Errr. No. It wouldn't actually.

concerned

B*ll*cks! A way of giving the states more money to waste more like.

Ed

I certainly wouldn't be deterred by this measure and I don't think those who consume excessive fizzy drinks will either as it's a habit- like tobacco and alcohol- and so individuals, in order to satisfy their desire for such beverages, will merely source extra money- I would.

Then again, it doesn't seem particularly fair as normal sized individuals, such as myself, like the occasional 'sweet treat' as it makes life more fulfilling - perhaps those suffering from obesity ought to develop some self-discipline and begin losing weight as the government may become less inclined to impose a measure.

markB

well said ED... have yourseilf a Tizer

Jake

I've always liked the idea of a FAT TAX on fat people not fat foods.

If you can enjoy "un-healthy" foods in balance and as part of a healthy life style I don't see why you should pay more.

I like the idea if you are fat/obese you get charged extra tax on your income/wages. I.e. sorry sir your last medical put you in the over weight group, you tax is going up by 5% this year!

Same with fat people clothes add a fat tax to them. Then people who stay slim don't pay extra but the fat people do.

markB

Or how about an Stupid Tax!!… you had better take out a second mortgage now Jake.

Rachel

I strongly agree Ed. Also these drinks are very cheap already and those who the extra cost may deter can get around it by buying bulk 2L bottles.

Controlling serving size might be a better approach as people will still be able to get their sugar hit without the drawbacks (ie encouraging shops/schools to replace 660ml bottles with 330ml). I admit its not a perfect solution (as if!) but it's a start at least.

Ed

Rachel

With concern to your final idea, I think that they have attempted that strategy in the past and it was ultimately futile- I don't know exactly why, though. The focus ought to be making these individuals lose weight through regular exercise, plenty of fruit, vegetables,whole grain products and drinking water and tea. Perhaps if they did this and restricted (they don't need to practice complete abstination if they are moderately overweight) their consumption, they could have the occasional unhealthy beverage without detrimentally affecting their health.

Rachel

Interesting that alcohol is not mentioned when it contains more calories than sugar. Perhaps a rethink your second drink- of anything- campaign. I think the current campaign aimed at males "can you see your genitals" will do well.

One big issue that concerns me is the level of artificial sweeteners in children's drinks still remaining high after studies have shown that it increases weight and alters brain functionality- perhaps permanently.

loseit

How about rather than taxing everyone who buys these drinks, putting a hold on obese peoples benefits who refuse to lose weight.

Perhaps basing the whole islands taxation on the individuals body fat percentage, someone with 15% fat has that taxed on their annual income and someone with 115% the same. Maybe that'll be enough motivation to put down the coke and get outside.

Backchat

These drinks are already more than 20% more expensive here than in England, along with food & everything else,

any increase in price won't stop some people getting overweight, just another way of increasing tax.

local lass

Any excuse to rip off the public, i have just about had anough, why dont they just take 95% of our wages.

jones

(1) They encourage the nominated driver to drink non alcoholic drinks, like the ones mentioned above, and now want to tax this sensible arrangement 20% ??

(2) Its about time supermarkets stepped up and stopped the buy 2 save 50% on the second, thus encouraging the purchase of more than we really need.. Rather than £2 for one or £3 for two just charge £1.50 each, then for those that only need one buy one and those that buy two are no worse off .. Or is that to complex ?

Laughable

"weapon" .......more like a slap across the face with a wet lettuce!

It will not make a blind bit of difference.

Donkey's Wotsits

Subsidies on wet lettuce might help tackle obesity.

bcb

Another weapon in the stealing of other peoples money.

Rolf

I would expect Dr Bridgman to be an educated man, therefore I would refer him to another educated man, Winston Churchill who wrote "There is no such thing as a good tax!"

A le Page

Tax my coffin, tax my grave,

Tax the sod in which I lay.

Put these words upon my tomb,

"Taxes drove me to my doom"

Lay me 'neath the olden oak,

Perished forever,

For a can of Coke.

Jimtheguern

Well taxation has certainly been successful with alcohol and cigarettes...

Oh wait, no it hasn't.

soph

Rip off health?

No!

But if you can afford dentist fees for damage done that's up to you

Dave P.

Mmmm, a tax on sugary drinks! These things have been around longer than I have -- we had nothing but sugary fizz when I grew up. We had nothing but full fat milk, we had no zero-sugar or zero-fat alternatives, no low fat cheese, ice cream, yoghurts od indeed fizzy pop and we were`nt fat! Why? Because we moved; we did `stuff`.

We cycled or walked to school every day then cycled to our mates house only to then bike ride to the beach or park and played football. In the summer we spent more time in the sea than out (thats where our webbed feet come from). Mummy didn`t drive us to school in her MPV..we didn`t stay indoors sat at a computer/iphone or any other gagdet for that matter.

So...the very notion of taxing fizzy drinks is just another excuse to rob even more money from us.

R. Williams

I blame mobile phones.

forest

Dave P your absolutley right.

The answer to obesity is not simply bad diet it is a combination of diet and exercise (or rather lack of it). Taxing high sugar drinks wont achieve anything other than providing HSSD with another income stream to be spent on more management and consultants.

I'm not a parent, but if they are serious about reducing obesity they need to focus their efforts towards developing activity based after school programmes for kids combined with in school education on the dangers of eating junk food.

rosie

Dave P. Your comments re lack of exercise being the guilt culprit are spot on.

Mark

Reminds me of this joke:

Patient: the problem is obesity runs in the family

Doctor: No, the problem is no one runs in your family!

forest

Nice one mark :)

valeite

Oh what a joke this is , is it April Fools Day?

What about a tax on the chip shops, tax on biscuits, crisps,even yoghurts have a huge amount of sugar in them, you ask a diabetic to find a yoghurt suitable for them.

We eat far too much. Cut down on the size of plate you have, would be a start.

Mark

I say fine, put an extra tax on 'unhealthy' drinks (I rarely drink them anyway). But, and this is a big but, that money must be kept separate and only spent on facilities to improve the general health of the population, so better PE facilities for schools, community sports facilities (free access to tennis courts and the like) etc. etc. etc.

markB

Maybe they should look at the amount of "chips with everything" kids eat these days.

eddy

Better to get rid of the big oversized 4x4's and all the horses struggling under the weight of the oversized people forcing them to carry them around and make these people get a bit of exercise themselves by getting them to walk/cycle around, then they may lose a bit of fat. People need to do more exercise. Another reason not to let Beau-Sejour be run by a private company which will then put it out of the reach, (cost wise) of the normal person within a couple of years.

milly

dr bridgman would do better to sort out the shambles of the health service instead of diverting our attention away from it.maybe thats what he wants?.

Spartacus

I don't believe in taxing sugary drinks as the States would in a way be profiting from the poor health caused by ignorant consumer choices.

Education of consumers is key but ultimately I would support a total ban of sugary drinks into the island and also a total ban of the aspartame laden alternatives.

Oh Dear

Why do people always assume that the consumer is stupid? Education is key for tobacco, the consumer knows it is bad for them. Education isn't key. Everyone knows what is good and bad. People often make poor choices but they're not uninformed.

This tax is pointless. As Ed said people are often addicted to sugary drinks, they'll still buy them.

I don't think they contribute a whole lot to the obesity crisis. Poor diets and lack of exercise is the problem. Overweight people know this.

guern abroad

Until there is consequence for poor choices, choices made wont change.

So why not raise some tax because before long the cost of health care for people who make bad choices is going to escalate beyond what can be afforded, if it has not already reached that point.

Spartacus

Oh Dear

Children are uninformed and misinformed. The current trend seems to be for sports drinks which they believe will enhance their performance whereas this is just marketing hype.

Children are greatly influenced by peer pressure and I am strongly against the sale of any bottled or canned drinks in schools.

I gather the main health risk with sugary drinks, including fruit juices is that they rot the teeth.

I agree that cola is addictive but it is extremely easy to wean off compared to cigarettes or any other addiction.

Ed

Spartacus

You would be absolutely disgusted if you saw the broad variety of fizzy drinks provided at in the Sixth Form cafeteria. I estimate that approximately 60-80% of the students purchase a fizzy drink at least every other day- the effects of which are exacerbated by the fact that they purchase chocolate each day.

Oh Dear

Spartacus I disagree. Children are told from a young age in schools what's healthy and what isn't. I remember learning about that in school. Things have changed a lot since then. It's probably a higher priority on the curriculum than when I was younger.

100% of smokers on this island know that smoking is bad. People still start. I'd bet that the same thing applies to unhealthy food and drink. I agree that Parents should take more responsibility for their children's diets. Again though this isn't something that always lies with the parents. I know of people who are severely obese, their siblings however are a normal weight. The children in these cases were brought up exactly the same way. Once children start getting pocket money they can buy unhealthy snacks. This is part of the problem.

Ed, the fact that they sell fizzy drinks in Sixth Form is ridiculous. The same thing goes for the College of Further Education. They also sell coffee from a vending machine. One of my friends couldn't function properly until he had his strong morning coffee full of sugar. It's more difficult to give these things up once you're addicted. When you're addicted to sugar/caffeine, you need it just to feel normal. It's more serious and more difficult to give up than people might think.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21423499

Spartacus

Oh Dear

Things have changed since I was at school too. Vending machines should be banned. Food technology lessons promote calorific foods. If they don't have have crisps and sweet snacks in their packed lunch they are available to buy so that kids don't feel left out or get teased for just having fruit.

Regarding siblings of differing weights, I agree that we can all vary slightly metabolically however it is always a basic physical equation of energy input =energy output. Even minor habits can cause weight to gradually increase over time. For people affected by weight issues they need help to address it or it will continue to get worse as they age.

Parents are responsible for their children's health and I know this is challenging for some and the level of help required is not always available. I know it sounds harsh but allowing a child to become obese is tantamount to child cruelty. Some parents feed their children as much food as they want because they love them so much. It is very sad.

All addictions are a state of mind, it is easy to give up anything if you want to. The problem is if you are not sure you want to.

Oh Dear

Addiction is not simply a state of mind in all cases. Some drugs actually alter the brain. You're an intelligent person but I think some more research might need to be done with regards to addiction. It's something I have seen first hand. It's not as simple as "give up if you want to".

I assume you have never been addicted to anything. Try telling an alcoholic, smoker or even a heroin addict that it's a state of mind. Many want to quit but cannot because the need for their substance of choice is too strong.

Some people need to exercise far more than others in order to lose weight. The same applies to some people who are hugely skinny despite leading a "slob" lifestyle. Obesity isn't just as simple as input, output sometimes.

I wasn't talking about food technology lessons. I was talking about science lessons in primary schools. They teach children the main food groups and teach them which ones to have in moderation and which ones to eat a lot of.

Your statement about it being tantamount to child cruelty is probably true in some cases. This can not be attributed to every case though.

Spartacus

Oh Dear

I agree that drug addiction is more powerful and requires assistance.

I gave up smoking. Still partial to the odd sweet treat and sugary drinks but would prefer they were inaccessible as I lack will power!

I believe scientific evidence proves the input=output case. I've seen some fascinating documentaries about this. One twin who simply has a tendency to fidget more can end up stones lighter than his identical twin.

It is only natural for people to overeat and under exercise as these are states of comfort in the modern world. Therefore most people need to make conscious choices about what they eat and how much they move about in order to maintain a healthy body condition.

In my experience the one or two lessons on nutrition at primary school were far outweighed by the everyday peer pressure at lunchtimes and teachers do not often practice what they preach so they sometimes give out mixed messages unfortunately. But that's nothing compared to secondary school with the temptations of the canteen, tuck shop and vending machines. Not to mention the endless cake sales!

bcb

But your all for higher taxes on fags Sparty? strange.

Spartacus

bcb

No I'm all for banning them outright too! Smoke free Guernsey!

bcb

I`m all for banning fags too Sparty but you were in favour for increased taxes on fags but not on these drinks? whats the difference? you don`t like the idea of government making a profit from ill health but they also make a profit from ill health through taxing fags?.

Spartacus

bcb

I think you may be mistaken, forgive me if I am wrong.

I had a quick look back on previous smoking debates and I cannot see or recall saying I support higher taxes on fags. I support banning them and I support measures to phase out smoking but I do not approve of government using sales of cigarettes as a revenue stream and I never have done as far as I can remember.

bcb

Sparty i am sure we had a brief debate where i implied putting taxes up on fags did not stop people smoking and therefore as far as i am concerned it was nothing more than an excuse to pull in more revenue. I am sure you supported the move as you said it was part of a wider strategy that was working in reducing smoking?.

Spartacus

bcb

I do believe that putting taxes up will help to reduce the number of fags people smoke and will influence some to give up. This will assist the overall strategy in which they seem to be trying everything and everything to gradually eradicate the habit.

However I don't agree with the government collecting revenue on sales of anything which causes harm to people as this is "profiting" from harmful activities which is morally conflicted. There is a subtle difference between disapproval of the strategy and believing it would work. Does that make sense?

Sorry if I have been inconsistent at some point, you could be right, or if there was a misunderstanding but I hope that clarifies my current feelings on it.

Spartacus

bcb

I supported the licence fee for tobacco but that was cost neutral. Was that it?

bcb

Although i disagree i get your points.

PLP

I know it sounds really dangerous and radical but instead of taxing everything in sight why don't parents (a) ensure their children get an appropriate amount of exercise and (b) ensure they don't pump them full of sugary fizzy drinks and sweets?

Yes I know, often it involves that really scary and radical decision to say "no" to your children now and then - yes, even when they start wailing and screaming in the middle of the supermarket.

Oh Dear

The problem with supermarkets is that they will ensure sweets etc will be visible to children. Perhaps it might be a good idea to put them higher up on the shelves.

PLP

Oh Dear - I agree, and it's not very responsible of supermarkets to do that.

Doesn't change the fact that parents can still say no though.

Donkey's Wotsits

That'll be news to some parents, PLP.

Oh Dear

That's true. Parents can be very weak willed. Even if it's just to get the child to be quiet. If the supermarkets changed the way they displayed unhealthy products these parents wouldn't need to give in to the whinging child.

Packaging obviously also plays a big part in this problem. Most sweet products are directly aimed at children. Perhaps dressing up fruit and veg in a similar way might make them more appealing.

PLP

That might help Oh Dear but if parents don't learn to say "no" to their children - even at the cost of the odd headache - I'm afraid they are making a rod for their own back. They are also doing their kids a huge disservice by giving them the false impression that they will always get what they want.

Ed

Oh Dear

With regards to your earlier idea about vending machines at the Sixth Form and CoFE, I agree that fizzy drinks shouldn't be sold, but I don't see significant harm in selling coffee. There is less sugar in coffee- provided one doesn't add any- and, it's high caffeine content notwithstanding, contains antioxidants. I would say that 2 cups per day is a safe amount to consume. I would say that a couple of cups of coffee every other day is better than drinking outrageous amounts of alcohol,especially spirits, at the weekend-something that even Sixth Formers do quite frequently.

Oh Dear

The problem is people do add sugar to coffee. I'd say that probably the majority of those that drink it, put sugar in. I don't drink tea or coffee, I just stick to water, apart from the occasional treat (those fattening sugary drinks).

I agree that it's not as bad as alcohol but in a work environment people get to the stage where they NEED coffee to get through their day. Some people I work with have 5-6 cups during a 7 hour shift. This is excessive, I bet they drink it at home on top of this. This sort of thing starts at a young age. It may not increase the weight of those that drink it but, that volume of caffeine is not good. Caffeine is a drug and can be very addictive, particularly if you take too much. If people need it to get through their day it's not a good thing at all. Your 2 cups a day is perfectly fine.

CSR

PLP, I totally agree with you, I wonder if the day will come when sweets and fizzy drinks are hidden from view just as cigarettes are, based on the fact that an excess of such items is bad for your health... apparently.

As one of the other posters said earlier, years ago we ate and drank items that are now considered 'harmful' to our health, but I would venture to say that its more the case that we exercised a heck of a lot more than the average schoolchild of today.

Personally I think that ensuring youngsters got regular excercise during school hours and parents accepting responsibility for their children's wellbeing out of school hours, would go a lot further than sticking 20p on a can of 'pop'.

Martino

I'd put a tax on fizzy drinks but from a totally different perspective - the plastic bottles which are a real menace. I'd slap 20p land fill tax on every plastic bottle, whether it contains sugary drinks, cancerous aspartame concoctions or just plain water.

Yes, I know they can be recycled these days but most of the fat lazy kids and yoofs who consume this muck simply chuck their plastic bottles

afterwards, usually onto our roads and streets.

markB

There’s no evidence aspartame is dangerous….. It’s a conspiracy theory.

Karen

I was reading about Aspartame yesterday on Wikipedia.

Very interesting and balanced reading considering some of the hysterical outpourings I've come across of Facebook recently.

But this does beg the question - what fizzy drinks do you tax? Many drinks are fizzy but are also calorie and sugar free.

And what about the non-fizzy ones that contain vast amounts of added sugar, flavourings and colourings and are seen by parents as being healthy because they claim to contain fruit and are marketed toward lunchboxes?

Spartacus

Ban the lot! Its all just clever marketing and profiteering by big clever corporations who don't give a damn about human health.

Drink tap water and a glass of milk sometimes if you like, take tea which is full of anti oxidants. Eat fruit don't drink it.

What's wrong with that?

Ed

I like the sound of that, Spartacus. Indeed, I believe in the remedial qualities of tea- I consider myself as a bit of a tea connoisseur as well.

Ed

However, Spartacus, I wouldn't advocate a complete ban on fizzy drinks- just reduce the quantity imported and locate the items in less convenient areas of the supermarket.

It is widely considered by business psychologists that situating necessary goods such as bread and milk at the far end of a supermarket is a good profiteering ploy since customers are invited to purchase luxuries such as chocolate and fizzy drinks as they travel around the place. Yet I personally believe that a business can still have good trade by relocating junk food to less convenient parts of the store as people, conscious about the potential shortening of their life expectancy and other detrimental health effects associated with such items, will make repeat purchases as they are pleased that such firms are making a conscious effort to improve their quality of life.

Then again this depends on the attitude of the individual.

Ed

Unless the parts of the text you are referring to had clear citations that linked them to credible sources, the validity quotient of such material can be brought down a notch or two. I wouldn't advise anyone to use wikipedia as a source of knowledge.

Ed

By the way, that last post was in response to Karen's post above.

Karen

Ed,

I'm certainly not naive enough to believe everything that I read but do like to consider more than one point of view.

I especially like to look for an alternative opinion when the one I can see appears to be presented by people with no kind of expertise in what they are talking about other than wanting to jump on the loudest bandwagon.

Rachel

I'm with Ed on this one. Product placement works wonders -as well as education (sometimes).

Also get all artificial sweeteners out of kids drinks completely- just make them low sugar without any additives (or just water as Spartacus suggests).

There is plenty of published research articles in respected journals to show that artificial sweeteners are harmful and when taken, must be taken cautiously with a careful evaluation of risk/benefit. If a product contains sweeteners it should be clear on the label and like Karen suggests there is plenty of non-fizzy drinks aimed at children- some brands, namely Fruitshoot, market their drinks as "low sugar" by reducing the sugar level a fraction but at the same time pumping up the artificial sweetener to dizzying proportions- as an adult, whose tastebuds are not as sensitive as a childs, tasting one of these drinks is likened to drinking pure cordial, i wonder what it tastes like to a child?

islander

Here we go again.Following the Uk instead of dealing with educating people into obesity.

If your following that route then go all the way.

Close down fast food near schools,take away unhealthy food and drink from hospital vending machines.

Ban sugary drinks in shops.

We all know that plenty exercise and sensible eating habits prolongs a healthier lifestyle.

The UK is said to be the fat man of Europe[obese].Has our local medical service done a survey on guernseys population?

John

PLP - well said. Parents should stand up to their responsibilities one of which is to ensure that the provide their children withas healthy a diet and environment as they can afford.

I do not think putting 20% on the price of a fizzy drink will have any effect whatsoever. There is already a wide price range for the same fizzydrink across the island. I have been charged significantly more in Waitrose than in the co-op and as forthe airport they just have ridiculous prices.

In the UK and I suspect in Guernsey it is the demise of the schoold playing fields and competitive sports in schools that has been a major contributor to the obese child. All this rubbish about every child must feel that they have taken part and achieved. The world is competitive and sport teaches you not only how to win but also how to deal with disappointment as well a getting you physically fit.

Adam West

I disagree. It's probably more to do with Health and Safety gone mad, nothing about the taking part.

It's a parenting issue first and foremost.

rosie

Sweet fizzy drinks are undoubtably a serious health issue and far from it being a kindness to allow children to indulge in regular sweet treats, it is in my opinion quite the opposite. When my kids were small, it was a case of ignorance being bliss. They had no knowledge of sweet drinks or sweets because they were never offered them and they therefore never missed them. By the time they did discover there existence, they were totally used to drinking water and were old enough to have it explained why we didn't drink them other than for special occasions. All now in their 20's, slim and with no fillings.

However, calories (even 'empty' poor quality calories such as sugar) are not the only culprit in the obesity epidemic. Lack of activity is playing a crucial part. The rise in inactivity has followed the rise in car ownership and we are simply not getting the exercise we all need.

The N.I.C.E. report that came out recently said that people should 'shun their cars if a trip could be done in 15 or 20 mins on foot or bike'. It calls on local authorities to to do more to make walking and cycling the preferred choice for travel and that this approach was needed to combat the 'silent epidemic' that inactivity poses for the health of the nation.

Our transport strategy is currently being drawn up. Let's hope that some meaningful changes are made to encourage us and particularly our children to use our journeys as opportunities to get some of this much needed exercise and for it to become a lifelong habit.

markB

Rosie ….If it wasn’t for the car how would anyone get to the Gym?

I bet it was a bag of laughs growing up in your household.

rosie

markB. Good point! I never quite get that.... driving to the gym in order to sit on a bicycle going nowhere!

Laughing was never predicated on being stoked up with sugar and E numbers, that's for sure! As I said, ignorance really is bliss.

Digger

Where does it end Do we tax ugly people also , i am now on it i am going to DD all of my salary to the States of Guernsey end of , or go unemployed and they will have to keep me instead of us keeping them. :-(

islander

What about horse gelatin in sweets?

soph

Solutions to obesity (tongue in cheek!)

1. Switch off TV transmitter from 6am till 1 hour after dark.

2. Same timing for private broadband users!!

3. No private vehicle drivers on road between 7 to 9am and 3 to 6pm. Of course a few would need a dispensation for this, bet a load of imaginative excuses would be used ha ha

This would all help! Safer to walk/cycle to & from work/school.

A walk to nearest bus stop = exercise too

And bored children might actually go outside to run around and play

Breathe_in

Its a total nonsense, most people that are overweight werent just guggling away on the coke!

I think they should segregate the fruit and veg from the rest of 'unhealthy' food in the store by having a barrier that was a certain width! That way the big folk would only get 'treats' when they had slimmed down to a certain size. The barriers could be adjusted depending on what size you want people to be, so you could start at size 18 and then make it a size smaller when the people shrink!

Of course you may end up with a black market in chocolate!

On a serious note, I happen to know a child that has been overweight since they were about five and when they moved to the high school the new school asked the parent if they needed help with setting a healthy diet etc. The parent said yes please, and the school has done nothing since, now been three years and the child is now three stone heavier! Its easy to say that the parent should control what the child eats but some cannot do it....I dont know why..perhaps they dont know how to say no.

Oh Dear

I believe that some people are naturally fat. I know people who eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly.

The problem with society is we judge people on how big they look. Not everyone who is big is that way due to excessive amounts of fizzy drink.

The BMI is also a very misleading figure and is probably the reason why the obesity epidemic appears so severe. Rugby players have a high BMI despite being fit and healthy. Basically anyone who is really into weight lifting will have a BMI of 25 plus. When governments collect data for obesity the figures will probably be taken from the BMI of the public.

PLP

Good post Oh Dear. I know people who look podgy but are still very active and fit; I also know others who look "trim" but virtually pass out walking up a hill. Clearly measuring aerobic fitness requires far more than just a measurement of weight.

I also think the BMI index is misleading - it is far too simplistic a measurement. As you say, some rugby players would be considered dangerously obese - but I wouldn't fancy telling them that!

I think the whole point of this is that the whole thrust of promoting healthy living needs to change from penalising unhealthy choices to promoting healthy choices. People generally respond better to positive encouragement than being treated like naughty children.

PLP

Of course much of this responsibility lies with parents - start 'em early with a healthy lifestyle. I'm sorry but no amount of government measures - either positive or punitive - can legislate for parents who can't seem to handle saying "no" to their kids.

Spartacus

That is child cruelty in my opinion. I understand that some people are very ignorant about food calories but they should seek expert help if their child is suffering due to over feeding. If there is a serious underlying health issue causing obesity from a normal calorie intake the doctor can help. Otherwise I'm sorry to say obesity is not a natural condition you do not get obesity in countries where food is in short or restricted supply.

PLP

Sparty - I don't think Oh Dear was suggesting obesity was natural. Yes you're right that with a restricted diet those who carry more weight would eventually thin down, but one step at a time. I think from a health perspective it's more important to tackle dangerous obesity before we start targeting everyone who's not built like an Ethiopian long distance runner.

Michael R

Spartacus,

There is a simple way of avoiding obesity. Just don't eat things that are bad for you like potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, root vegetables, dried fruit........i.e. anything that is high in starch or sugar content.

Eat meat and fish cooked in saturated animal fat or olive oil, along with leafy green veg. Nuts are fine too.

Don't count calories: just avoid carbohydrates and sugars, in both food and drink.

markB

That’s because food is in short supply!

Martino

Have to say I agree with Sparty about obesity not being a natural condition. You never see fat people in concentration camps. Why is that I wonder?

Oh Dear

I wasn't saying it was a natural condition. Obviously if you starve any one they'll become extremely skinny. I think you misunderstood.

Oh Dear

I wonder if this tax will go towards dangerous gastric band operations. Maybe even some liposuction.

Please don't put this tax on. Coke will be sold on the blackmarket for cheap.

Fat people will still remain fat. They just won't be as well off.

Ed

"Black market", Oh Dear ? Do you think that a potential scenario is another prohibition era ? I am beginning to think so as well...

Dani

I'm all for this. I would tax all products with high sugar levels and look into other unhealthy foods as well. I would also probably try and look at taxing items that are more expensive to recycle or cannot be recycled currently - like the black plastic to get people and firms to change their habits and product materials.

I should probably mention I'd have you all working to your 70ish as well.

Seems extreme but by 2040 a third of this island will be retired (supported by fewer people) and your all living longer and we will be aiming for you to do it in your own homes. A recent survey named Guernsey as 10th as a destination for high life expectancy. Averages I've heard range from 80-82. People are less healthy generally and more money is needed to cover pensions and associated health bills. The age of those citizens caring for family members will rise as well so more support will be needed from the States. The economy may not be as great either in the future - we can't bank on it.

I think the working populations standard of living will be lower than the retired generations due to the cost of just buying a family home, not getting work pensions or having as large capital gains on their own properties and probably having to make service cutbacks to finance the increased cost of the older generation. Your going to have to give them some incentive to stay on this island to fund it all and working a bit longer seems to me like the right thing to do to help matters. Finncial help is an option but when there is more demand on the taxable income of fewer people spreading it around gets harder without further cuts being made.

I would like to see our deputies make sensible plans for this aging time bomb. It's been coming for years and nothing is being done - it's just talked about still. I'd rather see measures being taken now to deal with it to lessen the impact. There will be tough choices to make and I think its better to bite the bullet sooner rather than fob the problem off to the next States (which I imagine is going to happen).

Oh Dear

Like I said in a previous post, taxing the hell out of everything doesn't work.

People still smoke and people still drink, they're both taxed heavily.

Obese people will still buy the food. Iceland will still be cheap with a 20% tax thrown on top.

I agree that people should be working longer. We have quite a few centenarians on this island, let alone those in the 80-82 bracket.

The one thing I do find odd your post. If you tax unhealthy goods (and it actually works) people will live longer. The "aging time bomb" will be even worse when the next generation reach old age.

Dani

It will reduce consumption if you tax them high enough (although to what degree I agree is debatable) and to be fair if this does not reduce consumption at least you have some extra money to pay for the extra health costs ingesting these items regularly will bring. Practically speaking you would at least have to charge enough tax to cover any increased administrative costs of collecting the tax so that would give a starting point.

With cigarettes higher prices do put new younger smokers off and increase the likelihood of giving up; though many existing smokers just go on to tobacco pouches instead and roll their own first. Interestingly (only to me perhaps) tax on cigarettes is a straight charge so it you go for a cheaper brand to save money your paying proportionally more tax to the States on the product price.

I think people are price sensitive to drink prices too. I believe many people now drink at home instead of bars because of this.

Iceland is an interesting case. I will think more on it. Would you say many people do their sole shop there or go to grab good value basics? Bit of both?

I have heard that there is a relationship between those with lower incomes and poor well-being (so more likely to be overweight on a theoretical basis). General rule of thumb if your shopping in Iceland for most of your groceries you are more price conscious so it could shift consumption in that demographic to a higher degree as they are more sensitive to price changes.

I think in the UK the median cost of healthcare is £100,000 a person. The average person however is £40,000. So people with serious health problems push it up. Most people incur the largest proportion of their healthcare costs in the last two years of their lives. If they live longer you will have extra pension costs but until the time comes close if they are healthy this cost is generally lower.

I think people just imagine the healthy living longer but medical advancements mean the unhealthy are living longer too. Its preferable that they are healthy instead. Yes people will live longer and that will be a good thing. The goal is to increase well being in society.

It's hard to raise money from elsewhere to maintain current levels of service provision due to needing a competitive tax structure and GST being unpopular. (I definitely don't want it). I still think this tax is the right way to go.

concerned

I would have less of a problem with this if the tax only applied to fat people, but why should everybody else be punished?

Delp

I think the notion that all obese people are sat around drinking 2L bottles of coke all day is a joke. It is a much bigger lifestyle issue that can't simply be tackled with taxation. I'm aware that obesity costs the health services a considerable amount, but taxing everyone who buys any kind of fizzy drink as a result? Also, as for the tax being investigated in the UK (which of course has a free health service, as I'm sure we are all aware) doesn't immediately make it suitable for Guernsey.

guern abroad

Guernsey's health service is almost free, patient's do not pay for that surgeon when their sickness needs it.

I do not call paying for the Dr and perscriptions that much of a patient burden in the scheme of things, it is still cheap enough to make bad choices to make your need on the health service greater then if you made good choices, if it were not then there would not be obesity issue that currently presents.

Guernsey is an island with an enourmous amount of outside activity available, yet we have obesity problems just like an inner city where you might have expected it more, I just don't get it. It must stem from parents using their cars too much setting a lifestyle of inactivity for themselves and their children.

Traveler

How can you say the Guernsey health service is almost free.

I spent four days in hospital in 2005 and got a bill for 3.200 pounds.

Within a week of receiving the bill I got a phone call telling me to pay or the debt collectors would be banging on my door.

guern abroad

@ Traveler your name implies you were not a Guernsey resident when faced with that bill?

There are local health insurance schemes to provide cover for medical costs, yes an outlay but unless the populations wants to pay a lot more tax there is not the money to make it 100% free. The UK is not a good example as the NHS is drowning in escalating costs both burden of meanagement but also burden of increasing demands on the health service. Having an accident is one thing being sick through life choices is another.

Traveler

@ guern abroad.

your right, I was not a resident at the time as I left the island 25 years ago.

But that doesn´t justify such a high cost for a bed. The NHS is a joke so I´m glad I don´t live in the UK.

If everybody has to pay so much then why are they closing wards?

stupidgsy

why do you they have to tax at all??

why not subside and promote healthy food, vegetables, water? rather than adding tax!

why not make it easier or cheaper to have access or membership to Beausie a states run building?

oh wait i know why ..greed prevails yet again.

Disgusting.

P B Falla

I dont mind a bit ok Coke now and then

Royston Gauno

Not everyone who likes coke gets fat, Tax by weight, like what cars wuz..

pb falla

I can assure the coke i use does not get you fat

islander

PB FALLA

Dope?

markB

is that diet coke you're on about?..PB

Oh Dear

Diet coke would probably make you more fat than "full fat" coke.

Rather than sugar it's filled with unnatural substances.

Royston Gauno

I agree, crisps, bread, and sugar in a Civil Service daily Coffee and cream cakes allowance can all make you fat, there is no tax proposed on these. Until you become fat I dont believe you have commited an offence and so, you should not be Taxed.

Sanguine

Only if you are an idiot Oh Dear...

valeite

Oh yes lets blame the States deputies for obesity, they get blamed for everything else, when will people realise it is totally what you eat that makes you obese, very few people can blame medical problems. I feel very sorry for obese children, that is not always their fault, but we have to take charge of our own destiny and stop these do gooders telling us what to do. I see many obese children,but I have to say the parents are usually obese too and the parents are in denial,it will never change,it is not only fizzy drinks this is their whole diet that needs looking at, but I am sure you will be told where to go if you even suggest it.

GM

We have all grown up (or at least those aged around 60 and younger) on fizzy drinks, sweets and chocolate as kids. It didnt make us obese as kids. why nit?

1. We were far more active. We cycled everywhere because the households didn't have second cars to drive us everywhere. We played more sport, did more PE at school, and we didn't sit in front of an XBox or tv or computer as soon as we got home from school. In other words, we burnt off the extra sugar intake.

2. Parents took more responsibility for what we ate and drank. We were given less pocket money and so only ate what was in the house and bought for us, instead of having our own money to waste at the shop.

3. Mothers cooked meals for their children, instead of microwaving mass-produced supermarket ready meals full of sugar, salt and preservatives.

Yes, times have changed, but all the solutions are within our control. I'm totally supportive of Graham Chester's campaign to get PE properly reintroduced to schools, but parents need to take far more responsibility. Extra taxes on fizzy drinks are not the answer. Consuming fewer calories and burning up more calories are the answers. Invest more and more in sport and exercise for children. In the long run its self financing because a healthier population means a lower HSSD cost on years ahead.

Martino

I agree GM but would add that the lack of exercise rot starts with the school run. Seriously, I think we should ban all day time parking within half a mile radius of every school in the island and let the little darlings discover what their legs are for. At the same time this would greatly address our traffic problems.

Island Wide Voting

A bit harsh on the residents who live within your radius

Martino

Yes, a bit harsh. Maybe we could refine the ban and make it apply only to yummy mummies in oversized 4x4s they can't handle. That should take out 90 per cent of the school run traffic.

rosie

GM. Agree 100%. But would add that I agree with Martino that the rot starts when kids are driven everywhere for every journey. They grow up with car travel being the only way they have experienced getting from a to b so it becomes the default option for them as they grow up.

In my opinion we have to address this. We need to make it more common place for everyone to cycle and walk when they can. We need to find ways to incentivise people to leave the car at home more often and to introduce more effort / activity into their daily lives.

We need to ingrain it in our culture that when making a journey, you consider all the transport options and you use the method most appropriate for that particular journey. Sometimes cycling. Sometimes Walking. Sometimes the bus and sometimes the car.

guern abroad

I agree but not aon all poihts.

I did not grow up on fizxzy drinks and sweets, I had one peice of chocolate on the weekend. I was a lot older before I had it more often. Chocolate and fizzy drinks and sweets just were not something I grew up eating a lot of at all.

Adults and children today just eat far too much over processed over sweetened food. It is like it is all too much effort to actually eat something you should eat and when you do you dislike it because your taste buds are ruined to gallons of salt and sugar.

Until healthcare is on a earnt basis it wont change. If you make choices that made you sick and there was no health service to bail you out you probably would have made more effort to not get sick in the first place.

Like not having a job, get dole money anyway, so why not eat badly and have all the health risks and illnesses with it, you get health care anyway.

Good food does not cost as much as many think. If you eat well and fuel your body you are not hungry so do not spend money on all the sweets, fizzy and chocolate and take aways, that all adds up in more ways than one.

forest

I think fat people should be taxed.

Salad_Dodger

...stupid tax, too.

Rachel

An easier way, albeit less profitable, would be to instead control consumption by controlling serving size.

On all supermarket shelves/service stations/corner shops/vending machines in schools etc i only see the 660ml bottles displayed as the standard smallest serving size (in a bottle). There is a 330ml bottle size available in other countries- why not encourage a whole island switch from 660ml to the 330ml single serving size as a start?

rosie

Rachel. N.Y. Mayor Bloomberg plans to introduce a ban on large individual sweetened drink sizes so there is a precedent there.

Of course they shouldn't be available at all in any public building. I think that it is shocking that they are sold in schools at all. I tried to get them banned when my daughter was at Beaucamp years ago but they made too much money from them. Crazy!

Rachel

I could be wrong but i don't think the Ladies and Elizabeth colleges have fizzy drink vending machines- only water vending machines. Can anyone confirm this and if so why don't the other schools follow suit?

Spartacus

I've been told La Mare vending machines contain bottled water and fruit juices.

Water vending is a rip off. Always has been and I don't know how the marketers have got away with conning the public for so long. Water is free!

Dentists always advise against drinking fruit juices because due to the acidity they are very bad for the teeth. Selling fruit juice in schools therefore seems contrary to the health policies of the States.

Children should only drink water in schools in my opinion and their bottles are refillable from the water fountains.

Island Wide Voting

Did they have fizzy drink machines at Ladies College in your day Spartacus?

rosie

Spartacus.

With you on this one. Schools should be a canned or bottled drink, sweet free zone. Everyone should be able to get from 8.30am to 3.30pm without needing a sugar fix. There is still plenty of the day left after school to indulge those tastes if that's what people want to do but it shouldn't be part of our educational experience.

Dellquay Girl

Dr Bridgman shoud go and get lost in my opinion. Sort out the Health Service shambles first before agreeing with the Uk and slapping a taz on fizzy drinks. If we slavishly follow the UK on their laws etc, why is it we don't follow suit on traffic offences, drug offences and the like??? Hey and also why don't we have totally free health care like they do there. They don't worry about going to the doctors or dentist. The extravagant sums we pay here for basic health care would frighten the life out of them. Yeah follow the UK but give us the UK perks here then. Getting back to the point this tax would be so unfair to most people and would not make a blind bit of difference as the States know already. More tax and more money for them to waste. Just take them off the supermarket shelves then. That would solve the problem would it not.

Salad_Dodger

This is an absurd expensive waste of money, just like every other hair brained scheme our establishment has come up with lately.

Talk about nanny state.

Anyone who is capable of turning on the TV or picking up a paper has access to the constant flow of information about the health implications of too much anything, sugar, fat, or whatever, and too little exercise.

When in this century being too ignorant to take any notice of information that might save their health, and in some cases, life, and where fat became some sort of disease, or so it seems, that has to be 'cured', in extreme cases, costing us all a fortune in their healthcare, I don't know, but ffs, most people with fat issues didn't get that way by eating healthily and getting their *ss to the gym.

Bry

Why not get to the bottom of it with a fat bum tax?

PLP

Well, Freddie Mercury did say that fat bottomed girls make the rockin' world go round!

Rocky

Children are becoming increase inactivity as are the next generation of parents.

Things must change now and it starts by increasing the provision of PE and sport in schools.

Education and Health - working together in partnership to tackle this one.

Oh Dear

To increase activity amongst children, parents should refrain from giving them computers at a young age. Young children are getting ipads, Playstations and X-boxes. This will always lead to inactivity.

PLP

Rather than not letting them use a computer at all, surely it is better to ration usage? The same applies with the TV. So for example, one hour TV followed by a brisk walk or trip to the playground.

There's nothing wrong with these things, they're just not meant to be surrogate parents!