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Expert comment: Will French ban on free refills of sugary drinks have any impact?

France has introduced a new law banning restaurants and other catering outlets from offering unlimited sugary drinks in a bid to reduce obesity.

Dr Ash Routen

But will such a ban have any impact in tackling the rise of diet related diseases?

Dr Ash Routen, a Research Associate in Physical Activity and Public Health from the University’s School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences and National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine East Midlands shares his expert opinion:

What impact will such a ban have?

“There is some recent research evidence that restricting or disincentivising consumers’ choice of food or drink availability through the implementation of legislation or policy can reduce purchases of unhealthy foods and beverages. The law in question here would have to form part of a much wider systems level approach targeting food availability (for example  working with food suppliers to regulate portion size) and creating more activity permissive environments (for example legislation to support active commuting) to have an impact on obesity at a population level." 

Should other countries follow suit?

“What is needed before other countries follow suit is rigorous scientific monitoring of the impact of this particular legislation in the longer term. This new legislation in France does however serve as a timely reminder to countries worldwide that they should be considering how to regulate the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages in a manner best suited for their particular context.”

To arrange an interview with Dr Routen call 01509 228697 or email publicrelations@lboro.ac.uk.

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