UK & World News
Being Overweight 'Normalised', Health Chief Says
Being overweight has become "normal" and a "sugar tax" may be needed to tackle the problem, the chief medical officer for England has warned.
Professor Dame Sally Davies said the Government should intervene to tackle child and adult obesity by regulating the food and drinks industry to protect against the dangers of excess calorie consumption.
She told the House of Commons Health Select Committee: "We need to be both strong and prepared to regulate. I think that the science is going such that that we will find sugar is addictive.
"We haven't managed to get over to the public how calorie packed fruit juices are, smoothies are, colas and carbonated drinks. We need to have a big education to know one is fine, but not lots of them.
"We may need to move to some sort of sugar tax, but I hope we don't have to."
A "generation" of overweight children are in danger of not living as long as their parents, Dame Sally said.
"I worry that we have re-sized a women's dress size so that a size 14 now was a size 12 when I was a student," she said.
"We have normalised being overweight.
"We have to find a new way - not of ostracising people who are obese and making them feel bad about themselves - but somehow of helping them to understand this is pathological and will cause them harm."
She also warned promoting physical education alone would not solve the problem.
In January, health experts set up the Action on Sugar campaign group, which works to reduce the amount of sugar added to food and soft drinks, and inform the public about "hidden sugars".
The group identified flavoured water, sports drinks, yoghurts, ketchup, ready meals and even bread as everyday foods that contain large amounts of sugar.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.