UK Teenagers Drink Too Many Sugary Drinks

UK Teens Consume Nearly A Bathtub Full of Sugary Drinks Each Year

The problem of young people drinking far too many sugary drinks spans the globe.

In a recent report that examines the UK’s diet and nutrition habits, Cancer Research UK (CRUK) discovered that young people aged 11-18 were drinking an average of 234 cans of sugar-sweetened soft drinks every year.

The annual consumption is nearly enough to fill a bathtub per individual, and means that these tweens and teens are consuming, on average, 4.5 cans per week. Even children aged 4-10 are consuming more than 2 cans of soft drink each week.

CRUK is using this data to support the push by the UK government to introduce a tax on drinks that contain more than 5 grams of sugar per 100 mls. The aim of this controversial move is to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity, tooth decay and type 2 diabetes in children in the United Kingdom.

Alison Cox, the director of prevention at CRUK, explained CRUK’s position:

“It’s shocking that teenagers are drinking the equivalent of a bathtub of sugary drinks a year.

“We urgently need to stop this happening and the good news is that the Government’s sugar tax will play a crucial role in helping to curb this behaviour. The ripple effect of a small tax on sugary drinks is enormous, and it will give soft drinks companies a clear incentive to reduce the amount of sugar in drinks. When coupled with the Government’s plan to reduce sugar in processed food, we could really see an improvement to our diets.

“But the Government can do more to give the next generation a better chance, by closing the loop hole on junk food advertising on TV before the 9pm watershed. The UK has an epidemic on its hands, and needs to act now.”


It’s our opinion that sugar-sweetened drinks fall into the “Occasional” category. They lack nutritional value, have the potential to contribute to health problems including decay, and they don’t hydrate the body as well as water. We’d love to see advertisers be more accountable, especially when it comes to promoting sugar-sweetened foods and beverages to children. We also strongly believe that food labelling to be a lot clearer, especially with regard to the amount of added sugars.