One of the more depressing issues highlighted in this week’s news was about young people drinking the equivalent of a bathtub full of sugary drinks each year. The BBC News website reported the Cancer Research UK’s survey results as:
- Pre-school children drink the equivalent of nearly 70 cans of fizzy cola
- Children aged four to 10 drink the equivalent of 110 cans a year (nearly half a bathtub)
- Teenagers drink more than the equivalent of 234 cans each a year (a bathtub)
Pretty horrendous figures by any stretch, but defended by the soft drink lobbyists with the sort of weasel words and tendentious arguments that were mooted by apologists of the tobacco companies decades ago.
Jacques Peretti wrote a compelling piece in the Graun a while back pointing out that we are, on average, 3 stones heavier now than in the mid-1960s. If you don’t believe that then simply gauge the average shape of teenagers walking down high streets today and compare them with the audience seen in the many TV repeats of Top of the Pops from the 1970s; your eyes won’t deceive you!
Given the potential for harm through the increased incidence of heart disease and diabetes, and don’t forget tooth decay, it’s hard to see why governments don’t take a harder line with the drink manufacturers. They seem to be in thrall to the drinks industry and agri-businesses rather than the promoters of a nation’s health (no surprise there!).
Not something to be made fun of, but I am in need of a topical limerick, so here goes:
A problem that’s facing our nation
Is a young person’s choice of libation.
‘Cos a bathtub of sugar
Is really a bu**er
And leads to their health’s ruination