Introduction of Sugar Tax To Tackle Obesity

The introduction of a sugar tax in yesterday’s budget is a landmark move by the Government to tackle Ireland’s obesity crisis. The move is aimed at tacking spiraling rates of obesity and will see the price of some popular drinks increase by as much as 60 cent for a two-litre bottle.

sugar tax

The timing of this tax coincides with World Obesity Day which takes place today, 11 October 2017. World Obesity Day was established in 2015 as an annual campaign with the goal of improving government policies and stimulating and supporting practical actions that will help people achieve and maintain a healthy weight and reverse the global obesity crisis. This year’s theme is to treat obesity now to avoid the consequences later.


Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. In the WHO European Region, an estimated 23% of women and 20% of men have obesity. Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. 

Childhood Obesity

Almost a third of Irish children are now overweight and the country ranks 58th out of 200 countries for its proportion of overweight youths, new data shows. Latest statistics compiled by the NCD Risk Factor Collaboration, and reported on in The Lancet medical journal, demonstrate a 10-fold increase in the rate of obesity among Irish boys between 1975 and 2016, and a 9-fold increase among Irish girls.   

Global Obesity infographic

Children’s food preferences, what foods they ask for, and how much they eat, are all affected by advertising and promotion of unhealthy foods and drinks – highly processed items that have little or no nutritional value. This is shown by research evidence that the World Health Organization has declared “unequivocal”.

Briarhill Family Practice: Advice On Losing Weight

Speaking on World Obesity Day, Dr Aaron Brennan said "The whole notion of weight loss can be incredibly daunting for people, but it is important to remember that even small reductions in weight can help lower the health risks associated with being overweight or obese." Dr Brennan pointed out that while it is tempting to set big goals,  especially as diet advertising and the media tend to talk about people losing “3 stone in 3-4 weeks”, often this kind of weight loss is unobtainable or unsustainable for many people." 

"Setting goals to do with increasing healthy activities like exercise or cutting out unhealthy snacks, " recommends Dr Brennan, "might be better targets initially than weight loss per se with an aim for more a gradual and sustainable weight management plan."

If weight management is an issue for you or you child, make an appointment to come in and discuss it with your GP, who will be happy to offer you practical advice and help.