Free drinks control in Europe: French government bans unlimited refills of sugary drinks
In a bid to save the country from a growing incidence of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) like obesity and diabetes, the government of France has banned restaurants and other places offering services to the public from serving unlimited amount of sugary drinks.
It has become a crime in France to offer unlimited amounts of sugary drinks for free or at fixed amount.
To encourage cut down on sugar drinks consumption, the WHO recommends that countries impose some taxation on the products, so that a higher price will serve as some form of regulation and deterrent.
Though the number of overweight and obese people in France is below the European Union average, the figuress have taken an upward turn.
The new law will affect soft drinks including sport drinks that contain sweeteners and added sugars.
“Soda fountains” are a common spot in cafes and restaurants in many European countries like the UK- a taxation on sugary drinks is scheduled to start there next year.
How obese is Europe?
Amongst people between age 18 and above in EU countries excluding the Republic of Ireland, 2016 Eurostat figures says-
• 15.9 % are obese
• France has an obesity rate of 15.3%
• Highest rate is in Malta, 26%
• Italy has the second lowest figure at 10.7%
Reports from the French medical journal ,Bulletine Epidemiologique, published in October 2016 says beyond age 30, 57% of French men and 41% of French women are overweight or obese.
The aim of the soft drink control is to check the rate of over weight, obesity and diabetes especially amongst the younger people.
Before the total ban on free sugary drinks in all public eateries together with school canteens and fast food joints, France already had a ban on vending machines in schools and a tax system on sugary drinks.
Overweight and obesity are defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. A crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI), a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of his or her height (in metres). A person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered obese. A person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight-WHO
Overweight and obesity are major risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Once considered a problem only in high income countries, overweight and obesity are now dramatically on the rise in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings-WHO