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​Sugar targets: Dentists tell Ministers this isn't Mission Accomplished

22 May 2018


The BDA has expressed concern as a new report shows insufficient progress is being made on sugar reduction targets, warning that the pace and scope of reform needs to be upped in the anticipated second phase of the Government's Childhood Obesity Plan, to address tooth decay and soaring levels of childhood obesity. 


In 2016 Public Health England had challenged food sectors to reduce sugar by 20% by 2020. The report says reduction targets are encouraging some food manufacturers to reduce sugar content in 5 out of 8 food categories, with reductions of 1-6% reported in the paper for products with voluntary reduction targets.


However, soft drinks included in the Soft Drinks Industry levy saw reductions of 11%, proving the power of hard policies over voluntary action. The BDA has been a leading advocate for the tax, and has called for its expansion to cover sugar sweetened milk, sports and energy drinks.


The BDA seeks sweeping changes to food labelling and branding, and an end to in-store promotions on unhealthy food and drinks and predatory marketing of high sugar products to children.  


BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said:


"Rotten teeth remain the number one reason for hospital admissions among children, so any progress on sugar reduction is welcome news. But this is far from mission accomplished.


"The report shows that the food industry is far more willing to respond to sticks than carrots. We need a tough line on reformulation, but also decisive action on advertising to children and buy-one-get-one-free promotions in shops, which evidence shows have a huge impact on purchasing decisions.

"The NHS needn't be spending hundreds of millions treating preventable diseases like obesity and tooth decay. Government now needs to go faster and further to make sugar the new tobacco."


Sugar and children's oral health

Find out more about our campaigning work on sugar and children's oral health and check out our top tips for your patients.