Consumer perceptions and understanding of the planned UK sugar tax: A cross sectional study
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Background- Soft drink consumption in the UK has risen by 30% over 10 years. Only one half of the rise is associated to sugar-sweetened soft drinks (SSSDs), the other half is attributed to the diet/sugar-free versions. Many health implications have been associated with soft drinks, including; obesity, type 2 diabetes, hyperactivity in children and dental caries. A new UK policy has been introduced for 2018, whereby, soft drink manufacturers will be taxed on the sugar content of their products in a bid to reduce consumer consumption. Method- A cross sectional study, using a modified food frequency questionnaire adapted for beverages only, and a short survey, assessing the perception and understanding of sugar tax in the UK. The study used participants of the age 18 and over, recruited via online social media and convenience sampling. Results- Overall participants had low frequency scores; predominantly, females had a higher tendency to consume less high sugar drinks than males. The male category also had more scores in the 2+ range (9.5%) when compared to females, however, it is still a relatively small percentage of males that scored this highly. Generally, the participants consumed low sugar drinks with moderate to high frequency scoring between the ranges of 1.51 – 2+ (89.2%), the highest scoring category was ‘1.71 – 1.99’ (48.2%). There are minimal differences between males and females with regards to frequency of low sugar drinks. Conclusions- This study offers evidence that further research is needed to further develop an understanding of the consumer population. It has provided evidence that population differences e.g. gender, may affect how successful a public health intervention may be.
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