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Health risks associated with soft drinks worry UK consumers

18 June 2010

A YouGov SixthSense report into the drinks market reveals 1 in 4 UK adults blame fizzy drinks as main cause of obesity, with almost three quarters of respondents (71%) claiming soft drinks are bad for your teeth

These findings come in the wake of recently published reports into new potential health risks associated with soft drinks. Academics in Harvard and Nagasaki have linked premature aging to high levels of phosphate found in soft drinks, while research coming out of Israel has identified a relationship between fizzy drinks and liver damage.

Commenting on the findings, Research Director for YouGov SixthSense, James McCoy, said, “The perceived health risks related to soft drinks are, for the most part, the same ones that have been around for years. We are more likely to link soft drink consumption with tooth decay than we are to weight gain. Similarly, it may be some time before new health concerns, such as liver damage, filter through to the wider population.”

A high proportion of adults in the UK (66%) are worried about the influence drinks companies have on young children; with 29% of respondents in favour of banning all advertisements for carbonated or sugary soft drinks.

Despite this, more than half of parents (51%) have let their children drink Coca-Cola in the last year, 40% of parents have served their children Ribena and 57% have served Robinson’s, including Squash, Barley Water and Fruit Shoots. 34% of parents have given their children bottled water over the past year.

Commenting further, James McCoy said, “In one way or another, fizzy drinks are widely viewed as being detrimental to one’s health. Many people are particularly concerned with the role of soft drinks companies in the lives of young people. However, bearing in mind that the majority of parents are still willing to serve soft drinks, it can be argued that a high level of media saturation seems to negate perceived health concerns. Unsurprisingly, 75% of respondents in the report highlighted ‘heavily advertised’ as a term they associated with Coca-Cola.”

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