A parliamentary committee tasked with developing measures to tackle obesity in children has supported a proposed tax on sugary drinks,

Sugary drinks fuel childhood obesity

Sugary drinks fuel childhood obesity

There is growing concern about sugar's damaging impact on health, and sugary drinks are the single biggest source of sugar for 11 to 18-year-olds.

The Commons' Health Committee's report said calls for a tax could "no longer be ignored", and urged government to drop its opposition to the tax and take action, pointing out that one in every five children starting primary school is overweight or obese, which rises to one in three by the time children leave school.

The report referenced evidence from Mexico, where the introduction of a 10% tax on sugar-sweetened drinks lead to a 6% reduction in consumption.

The cross-party group of MPs acknowledged that no single measure would solve the problem, but called for a "bold and urgent" strategy which would include a crackdown on price promotions of unhealthy foods, a crackdown on marketing and advertising, and clearer labelling of products showing sugar content in teaspoons.

"We believe that if the government fails to act, the problem will become far worse," said committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston. "A full package of measures is required and should be implemented as soon as possible."

Public Health Minister Jane Ellison said: "This government is committed to turning the tide on childhood obesity. That is why we are developing a comprehensive strategy looking at all the factors, including sugar consumption, that contribute to a child becoming overweight and obese. This will be published in the coming months."