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Brighton fights obesity with 'sugar tax'

12 October 2015 08:09

Jamie Oliver is backing Brighton's battle against sugar

Jamie Oliver is backing Brighton's battle against sugar

Think of the food on offer in most seaside towns across Britain and doughnuts, candy-floss and sugary soft drinks will probably spring to mind.

But one of them - Brighton and Hove on the south coast - is the first city in the country to take up the fight against the nation's sweet tooth.

Backed by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, it is aiming to become a so-called 'sugar smart city'.

Among the measures being introduced there is a voluntary tax on soft drinks containing added sugar.

Establishments across the East Sussex city are being asked to implement the levy, with the proceeds set to boost a food education and children's health fund.

Vending machines located in council and healthcare buildings, meanwhile, will now include healthy options, with food education programmes being introduced in every primary school.

It is estimated that Britons consume up to three times as much sugar as they should.

This contributes to a host of health problems such as tooth decay, obesity and diabetes - a condition that can be covered among holidaymakers by a diabetes travel insurance policy.

Speaking during the new campaign's launch, TV chef Oliver said research shows that a third of pupils are either overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

Because of that, he adds, those children are likely to form part of the first generation to have shorter lives than their parents.

But he is hoping the initiative in Brighton and Hove will help address the problem and encourage other local authorities to follow suit.

Brighton and Hove's director of public health, Tom Scanlon, says with Britons' sugar intake at an all-time high, more people than ever are falling victim to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

It is estimated that in Brighton and Hove, diseases related to diet cost the NHS around £80 million each and every year.