Department of Health written question – answered at on 4 January 2016.

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Photo of Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe Labour

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of whether there is a growing health problem at all ages connected to excess consumption of sugar, and if they consider that there is such a problem, what new measures they will take to reverse the trend.

Photo of The Marquess of Lothian The Marquess of Lothian Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much obesity-related conditions and illnesses cost the NHS annually; and what action they are taking in line with the recommendations of Public Health England to tackle obesity and the excessive consumption of sugar.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition published its report Carbohydrates and Health in July 2015, which found that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain. It recommended that no more than 5% of energy in our diet should be from sugar. We are currently consuming over double the recommended limit for sugar; with children and teenagers consuming around three times the recommended level.

A copy of Carbohydrates and Health is attached and available at:

Alongside this, we requested that Public Health England (PHE), as an Executive Agency of the Department, to prepare evidence for the Government on reducing sugar consumption. We are currently working very closely with PHE and its evidence is integral to the development of our forthcoming childhood obesity strategy.

A copy of PHE’s report Sugar Reduction: The evidence for action is attached and available at:

An analysis of the economic burden of a range of risk factors for chronic disease estimated that overweight and obesity cost the National Health Service £5.1 billion per year.

A copy of the analysis The economic burden of ill health due to diet, physical inactivity, smoking, alcohol and obesity in the UK: an update to 2006-07 NHS costs is attached and available at:

PHE Sugar Reduction Report (PDF Document, 1.09 MB)
SACN Carbohydrates & Health (PDF Document, 2.39 MB)

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