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UK imposes sugar tax on soft drinks

Britain on Thursday said it would tax companies which sell sugary soft drinks and invest that money in health programs for school children, part of a long-awaited strategy to curb childhood obesity that critics say is too weak.

Drinks companies were also angered by the plan which urges industry to cut sugar in products aimed at children, saying nearly a third of those aged two to 15 are already overweight or obese.

In a statement announcing details of the strategy, which has been in the works for several years, junior minister Jane Ellison obesity was costing Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) billions of pounds every year.

Campaigners and health experts, however, said the plan was weak. Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine and chairman of the Action on Sugar campaign group, said it was “an insulting response” to Britain’s obesity and diabetes crisis which “will bankrupt the NHS unless something radical is done”. (Reuters)

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