LONDON - Three Oxford University health specialists want the United Kingdom to implement a tax on soft drinks, perhaps as high as 20%, to curb obesity, the Associated Press reports. The United Kingdom is the fattest nation in Europe. The researchers came to that conclusion after studying other reports on how soda taxes have supposedly worked in other countries and certain U.S. states.
However, with the U.K. experiencing high taxes and increasing unemployment, the government might not consider adding a soda tax €" for now.
"We've tried other measures to reduce obesity and they haven't worked," said Mike Rayner, who directs the British Heart Foundation at Oxford and headed the overview. "We need more drastic and innovative measures."
Rayner pointed out that taxing sweetened or carbonated beverages followed taxes of other products, such as alcohol and tobacco. He recommended the government consult on how to enforce such taxes.
Overall, Rayner said more studies should be conducted but that he favored a tax on soda. "It's not like you're going to have a cheeseburger instead of a soft drink with the money you've saved on tax," he said. "You'll probably have something unsweetened, like water or milk."
Currently, France has a sweetened beverage tax, Denmark has a tax on foods with saturated fat, and Norway has a tax on chocolate and sugar.
Read more about the threat of taxes on soft drinks and other foods in "You€™re Under Arrest" in the February issue of NACS Magazine.