Unhealthy food taxes welcomed

According to the National Heart Forum (NHF), new duties on foods known to be unhealthy should form part of public health policies that can tackle growing obesity in the UK along with a number of other diet-related illnesses, one of which is dental decay.

In the report, the NHF recommends the introduction of duties on sugary soft drinks to reduce consumption levels and raise money to support public health programmes or subsidise the cost of healthier foods.

Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, welcomed the report and believes change is necessary to aid the improvement of oral health in the UK.

Dr Carter said: 'The Foundation welcomes this report and the recommendations it puts forward. The report is particularly pleasing as one of the Foundation's three key messages is 'cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks'. By proposing the introduction of a duty on sugary drinks there will be an inevitable reduction in consumption and benefits for both general and dental health.

'The increase in consumption of sugary drinks is one of the key reasons for dental decay, particularly in children. Any measure which helps reduce how often our teeth are exposed to sugary foods and drinks is to be welcomed. As a nation we have turned from three square meals a day to seven to 10 snack attacks including constantly sipping sugary drinks and this may be one reason why improvements in dental health have been slowing down.

'The cost of poor diet has a profound effect on our health. In the UK, over 60% of adults are overweight or obese. This is contributing to a growing social and economic burden of chronic disease including cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes, both of which have also been linked to poor oral health.

'Poor oral health is of great concern, not least due to the growing number of general health conditions it has been linked to. Implementation of the recommendations in the report could lead to oral health benefits for generations to come.'

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