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Sugar tax and ban on fast-food outlets near schools?

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INTRODUCING a sugar tax and moving fast-food outlets away from schools form part of the States' plans to tackle obesity in Jersey.

The Food and Nutrition Strategy by the Strategic Public Health Unit outlines a number of action points aimed at tackling the health problem which is already costing the States £42 million per year and is expected to rise to £57 million annually by 2025.

According to the strategy, just over half of the adult population in Jersey is already obese or overweight and children living in urban areas are twice as likely to be overweight than those living in rural parishes.

Health is now looking to secure funding to introduce a number of schemes, including a Unicef initiative which supports breastfeeding parents, as breastfeeding is linked to reduced levels of child obesity, and Food Dudes – a programme encouraging more school children to eat fruit.

It is not known how much funding the department is seeking.

The introduction of a sugar tax in Jersey is also being considered. The UK is due to add extra tax on sugary drinks in April 2018.

Dr Susan Turnbull, Jersey's Medical Officer of Health, said the idea was currently being 'scoped out' and health professionals were looking closely at what was being done in the UK.

If the tax was introduced revenue from it would go towards weight management schemes.

The Health Department are also considering introducing measures that would limit and regulate the placement of fast-food outlets, in particular with regard to the proximity of schools.

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