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NHS and Leading Suppliers Join Forces to Cut Sugary Drinks

National Health Service (NHS) England has announced that hospitals will be banned from selling sugary drinks and high calorie snacks next year unless action is taken to drastically cut their sales.

Bottles and cans of soft drinks as well as coffees made with syrup will be affected. The move will also hit fruit juices and milk drinks with added sugar. NHS said such drinks would be banned unless further voluntary action is taken to cut sales. NHS cafés and canteens must reduce sugary drink sales to just 10% of their total drink sales within a year.

A number of key suppliers working in NHS hospitals including Marks & Spencer, Greggs, WH Smith, the SUBWAY(r) brand, Medirest have all pledged to cut sales of the drinks in a pledge to promote a healthy lifestyle in NHS buildings.

NHS England has said that from April 2017 it will introduce national incentives for hospitals and other providers to boost the amount of health food found on their premises. All sugary drinks will be banned if the voluntary target is not met within 12 months.

NHS England will be the second country in the world to introduce such a plan, with Portugal taking pioneering action last year.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England said that a spoonful of sugar might help the medicine go down but spoonful of added sugar day-in, day-out mean serious health problems.

Following discussion with NHS England, the Leading Suppliers are agreeing to take decisive action, which helps send a powerful message to the public and NHS staff about the link between sugar and obesity, diabetes and tooth decay, he added.

NHS England has already announced measures to improve healthy eating in hospitals, including axing deals on sugary drinks as well as those for fatty, salty, and sugary foods.

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