Childhood obesity could be stemmed by taxing sugary drinks

A tax on sugary drinks would help stem the rise of childhood obesity and save the country billions in medical costs, leading health groups have revealed following Australian research.

In Australia, they have one of the highest rates of obesity in the world, with 63% of adults and one in four children being overweight or obese.

They surveyed 1,016 people and found 85% believed unhealthy eating habits were a serious problem for Australian children.

Half the respondents approved of the government putting a tax on junk food and sugary drinks, similar to the taxes on alcohol and tobacco.

The Consumers Health Forum, Heart Foundation, Obesity Policy Coalition and Public Health Association of Australia believe a sugary drink tax would improve childhood health and help stem the cost of obesity, which is estimated at $56bn a year.

The groups found 77% of respondents supported making the health star system mandatory for packaged food.

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