The NHS in England is currently considering whether it should ban or impose a tax on any sugary drinks sold in hospitals and wants YOUR opinion!

NHS England’s chief executive, Simon Stevens, says he wants the NHS to set a healthy example and “practise what we preach”.

Mr Stevens committed to improve the health of NHS England’s workforce.

700,000 NHS staff overweight or obese

A recent survey found obesity to be the most significant self-reported health problem amongst NHS staff, with nearly 700,000 NHS staff estimated to be overweight or obese.  Rising rates of obesity amongst NHS staff is not only bad for personal health, but also affects sickness absence and the NHS’s ability to give patients credible and effective advice about their health.

Hospitals are an integral part of the community and are visited by over with over 1 million patients every 36 hours, 22 million A&E attendances and 85 million outpatient appointments each year

The food sold there can send a powerful message to the public about healthy food and drink consumption

Mr Stevens said: “Confronted by rising obesity, type 2 diabetes and child dental decay, it’s time for the NHS to practise what we preach. By ploughing the proceeds of any vendor fees back into staff health and patient charities these proposals are a genuine win-win opportunity to both improve health and cut future illness cost burdens for the NHS.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Gavin Partington, of the British Soft Drinks Association disagrees with the idea of a ban or a tax, saying: “It’s hard to see how a ban on soft drinks can be justified given that the sector has led the way in reducing consumers’ sugar intake – down by over 17% since 2012.”

Sugary drinks have ZERO health benefits

My opinion on this is simple. I see no know health benefits to consuming processed sugary and fizzy drinks and have read numerous articles on how they are detrimental to health.

Soft drinks (excluding fruit juice) are one of the largest sources of sugar in adults, and the largest single source of sugar for children aged 11 to 18 years, providing 29% of their daily sugar intake. Sugar consumption is also one of the main causes of tooth decay in children, with tooth extractions now the leading reason for hospital admissions for children aged 5-9. Consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages has been found to be more strongly associated with weight gain than any other food or beverage.

There is also strong evidence for the independent role of the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages in the promotion of weight gain and obesity. People who consume sugary drinks regularly – 1 to 2 cans a day or more – have a 26% greater risk of developing type-2 diabetes than people who rarely have such drinks.

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition recommends that consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks should be minimised by both children and adults.The government has accepted these recommendations and has integrated them into the official UK advice on what constitutes the best diet for health.

Given hospitals are a place that sick people go to in order to get well, I find it shocking that the shops and vending machines in hospitals tend to be full of highly processed foods and drinks. We know these foods are a significant factor in obesity and related disease. The sooner they are removed from hospitals the better.

Want to have your say? The public consultation runs until 18 January 2017 and can be found here: https://www.engage.england.nhs.uk/consultation/sugary-drinks

 

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