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No sugary drinks for children, says UK health body

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A major UK government health agency has called on parents to remove all sugar-sweetened soft drinks from their children's diets.

Sugar is blamed for growing global obesity levels

Sugar is blamed for growing global obesity levels

Public Health England (PHE), an executive arm of the UK's Department of Health, said today that cutting soft drinks was "the first step" to ensuring a healthier lifestyle for children. "There is nothing good about a sugary drink, particularly if you are under the age of 11," the body said.

PHE's comments follow the release this morning of a report on sugar intake from the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), an independent panel of health experts that advises the Department of Health. However, PHE's recommendations go further than the committee's, which only states that adults and children should "minimise" soft drink consumption.

Responding to SACN's report, the British Soft Drinks Association said the recommendations made little sense and risk confusing people.

"The fact is there is no difference between the sugar in soft drinks and the sugar in other types of food and drink," the association said. "It is baffling that soft drinks have been singled out and the industry’s work to reduce the nation’s sugar intake ignored."

SACN also recommended that people should halve their intake of free sugars "to help address the growing obesity and diabetes crises and to reduce the risk of tooth decay".

Sugar-sweetened soft drinks have been targeted by a number of health agencies around the world, which blame them for growing levels of global obesity. Last month, the World Health Organisation accused the marketing of full-sugar non-alcoholic beverages of being one of the main contributors to rising child obesity, especially in developing countries.


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