One fizzy drink 'puts children over daily sugar limit'
A child can end up exceeding their recommended daily intake of sugar by consuming just one fizzy drink, new research claims.
The warning is highlighted in a report that reveals that one in three people aged 15-24 are consuming sugar-laden drinks either daily or most days of the week.
The stark findings will be presented in a report by the Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) at its annual conference in Belfast tomorrow, World Obesity Day.
It comes as the Government signals its intention to announce a sugar tax on fizzy drinks - but not to introduce it until 2018.
The report, 'A Spoonful of Sugar', shows more than half of those aged 15 and over have sugary drinks and one-fifth of these have them daily in many cases here.
Dr Joanne Purdy and Noelle Cotter said the evidence is that half of all 13-year-olds who were interviewed had at least one fizzy drink in the previous 24 hours.
"Consuming one 330 millilitre can of these drinks could take a child over their recommended daily sugar intake."
We downed 411.3 million litres of sugary drinks over a year, increasing our sugar intake, which should be no more than six teaspoons a day.
Commenting on the risks of this consumption, Dr Francis Finucane, endocrinologist and obesity expert in Galway said: "There is irrefutable evidence now that sugar-sweetened drinks are bad for children and adults.
"I would go so far as to say that scientists who deny this association are behaving unethically and may be contributing to inertia from policymakers on tackling the issue.
"The introduction of a sugar tax, though admittedly arbitrary and controversial, would send a message about the health concerns about them to consumers and might start to change the culture around obesity in Ireland. It would be like going after cigarettes rather than smokers and alcohol rather than drinkers."
However, Kevin McPartland of the Irish Beverage Council said that fizzy drinks account for only 3pc of our calorie intake. A sugar tax could cost the drinks industry around €60m a year and make it more difficult to invest in expensive reformulation of products to reduce sugar content.