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Teenagers Are Consuming ‘Bathtubs Full’ of Sugary Drinks Every Year

According to new figures from Cancer Research UK, teens knock back 234 cans of soda every year.
Phoebe Hurst
London, GB
Photo via Flickr user _ Liquid

We all know that kids are hardwired to enjoy sugar (remember your Year Nine Tangfastic Haribo dependency?) but a new study from Cancer Research UK may have revealed exactly how much of the sweet stuff they consume every year—and it's not pretty.

According to the charity's research, which uses data from the 2015 National Diet and Nutrition Survey, British teenagers down 234 cans of sugary drinks every year. That's enough to fill an entire bathtub.


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Cancer Research found that soft drinks were the main source of added sugar in teens' diets, and that younger children were also consuming high amounts of the stuff. The data showed that pre-schoolers drink 70 cans of sugary a year, while kids aged between four and ten consume 110 cans—enough to fill half a bathtub.

Alison Cox, director of prevention at Cancer Research, commented on the findings: "We urgently need to stop this happening and the good news is that the Government's sugar tax will play a crucial role in helping to curb this behaviour. The ripple effect of a small tax on sugary drinks is enormous, and it will give soft drinks companies a clear incentive to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks."

The Government announced plans for a sugar tax back in March. The £520 million levy on sugar-sweetened drinks will see soft drinks companies pay a charge for beverages that have a total sugar content of 5 grams or more per 100 milliliters. Public health campaigners hope this will replicate the success of similar sugar taxation schemes, like that enforced in Mexico, which saw fizzy drinks sales fall by 12 percent in its first year.

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Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England also commented on the Cancer Research study. She said: "The sugar levy is a good way to help cut intakes, but children get sugar from many sources. We're also working with businesses and retailers to gradually take sugar out of the food children eat the most, so we can cut sugar intakes across the whole diet, not just drinks."

And if we're to make any kind of dent in the escalating child obesity crisis, those changes had better come soon.