Strong public support for 'nanny state' interventions

28 June 2018 08:06

Public back sugar tax on soft drinks

Public back sugar tax on soft drinks

Brits support the use of "nanny state" interventions when it comes to issues relating to health, new research has revealed.

The study of over 2,000 people showed that most are in favour of measures like the smoking ban and a sugar tax on soft drinks.

The figures come as research shows very few are meeting recommended guidelines for healthy living, despite most believing that individuals are responsible for their own well-being.

The report, called 'Are We Expecting Too Much From The NHS?', states that there is "surprisingly strong public support" for so-called 'nanny state' interventions.

Must do more

Jointly undertaken by The King's Fund, the Health Foundation, the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Nuffield Trust, the study asked more than 2,000 people aged 15 and over from across the UK.

They found that 86% of people believe that it is the responsibility of the individual to stay healthy.

Yet previous research suggests that seven in 10 adults in England do not meet government guidelines in relation to two or more key risk factors of poor diet, physical inactivity, excessive alcohol consumption and smoking.

The report said: "If government is serious about improving the public's health, it must do more to tackle the wider determinants of health through a more co-ordinated approach to policy-making."

Advertising ban

The briefing, produced for the BBC, found that 63% of people support the soft drinks levy and almost three quarters (72%) supported the ban on smoking in public spaces.

Seven in 10 supported limiting fast food areas near schools while just over half (54%) said they support a minimum unit price for alcohol.

Meanwhile 69% said they support restricting advertising of unhealthy food and drink while 67% would back a ban on advertising of junk food on TV before 9pm - something which was proposed in the Government's latest work to prevent childhood obesity.

Helen McKenna, senior policy adviser at The King's Fund, said: "It is essential that national and local government use all the means at their disposal to improve the public's health.

"Although politicians may balk at the idea of the 'nanny state', our research suggests these types of intervention may enjoy stronger public support than they often assume.

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