Leading brands who have this week announced they will be reducing the amount of sugar in their soft drinks could play a key role in reducing obesity and dental decay, according to oral health experts.
Public health minister Anna Soubry made the announcement earlier this week as part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal Lucozade and Ribena will reduce the amount of sugar and calories in their products by up to 10% as part of the Government’s drive to reduce levels of obesity.
Other leading brands such as IrnBru and J2O will also work to reduce the calorific content of their drinks as part of the deal.
England has some of the highest obesity rates in the developed world with 60 per cent of adults and one third of 10 and 11 year olds being overweight or obese.
Latest figures show more than three in every 10 children starting primary school do so with tooth decay, while a third of children aged 12 have visible dental decay.
Chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, points to high levels of sugar in diets as the major factor behind these figures.
Dr Carter said: 'Health professionals have long held the opinion that sugar is addictive. That is why the announcement that a number of leading soft drinks brands will reduce the amount of sugar they contain is a step in the right direction.
'More can always be done to tackle obesity and dental decay, and the Responsibility Deal can go further in improving public health. Hopefully this news will encourage more brands to come forward and support the deal.
'The idea that too much sugar is bad for health is not a new concept, yet it is surprising how many people seem to ignore the message. Health professions, and particularly those in the dental profession, have an ideal opportunity to remind their patients about the potential pitfalls of having too many sugary foods and drinks too often. It is one of the Foundation’s key messages, and it may help to reduce incidence of caries in children and the growing levels of childhood obesity in the UK.'