Soft Drinks Industry Campaign to Combat Obesity Claims

Following from health lobby group Sustain and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges accusing carbonated drinks as being a major cause of obesity, the UK soft-drinks industry is rallying to counter the negative media with a communications campaign.

The lobbyists are urging the Government to treat sugary drinks in the same destructive light as cigarettes - they want higher taxation to be put forward in the Chancellor's Budget announcement on 20 March.

In addition, they are calling for a ban on the TV advertising of unhealthy food and drinks before the 9pm watershed to prevent youngsters from being overly swayed.

To fight this, the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) is reportedly planning an information campaign targeting 'key opinion leaders' and focusing on actions taken by the soft-drinks industry to tackle the UK's obesity problem.

Gavin Partington, BSDA Director General, commented: "If there's a debate, we want to be in it."

BSDA firmly assert that consumption of soft drinks containing added sugar has fallen by 9%, while the incidence of obesity has risen by 15% over the past 10 years.

Furthermore, the BSDA claims that 61% of soft drinks sold in the UK now contain no added sugar, in line with promises made by manufacturers as part of the Government's Responsibility Deal initiative.

Nevertheless, the debate continues as Sustain argue that the BSDA's statistics are 'disingenuous', since this 61% figure includes bottled water.

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