In a bid to combat child obesity, fizzy drinks should have labels showing how many teaspoons of sugar are in them, councils say.
The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils – with responsibility for public health – says many young people and parents are unaware of the high level of sugar in fizzy drinks.
This comes ahead of the government’s forthcoming child obesity strategy, and is in line with research that shows some energy and sports drinks have 20 teaspoons of sugar in a 500 ml can – more than three times the daily allowance for adults. Similarly, some soft drinks contain between five and 15g of sugar per 100ml.
A typical can of fizzy drink contains around nine teaspoons of sugar.
Moreover, young people in the UK are the biggest soft drinkers in Europe – with 40% of 11 to 15-year-olds drinking sugary drinks at least once a day. Poland is the second highest at 27%, and Germany third with 18.5%.
Izzi Seccombe, a councilor and LGA Community Wellbeing spokesperson, explained: “On average it takes just 15 seconds for shoppers to decide on an item, so we need to have a labelling system which provides an instant at-a-glance understanding of sugar content.
“Raising awareness of sugar quantities and giving families a more informed choice is crucial if we are to make a breakthrough in the fight against tooth decay and obesity,” she added.