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BMJ. 2019 Apr 17;365:l1417. doi: 10.1136/bmj.l1417.

Estimating the potential impact of the UK government's sugar reduction programme on child and adult health: modelling study.

Author information

1
Centre for Population Approaches to Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford OX3 7FZ, UK ben.amies-cull@dph.ox.ac.uk.
2
Centre for Primary Care, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.
3
Centre for Population Approaches to Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, Big Data Institute, University of Oxford, Headington, Oxford OX3 7FZ, UK.
4
National Institute of Health Research Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Headington, Oxford, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the impact of the UK government's sugar reduction programme on child and adult obesity, adult disease burden, and healthcare costs.

DESIGN:

Modelling study.

SETTING:

Simulated scenario based on National Diet and Nutrition Survey waves 5 and 6, England.

PARTICIPANTS:

1508 survey respondents were used to model weight change among the population of England aged 4-80 years.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Calorie change, weight change, and body mass index change were estimated for children and adults. Impact on non-communicable disease incidence, quality adjusted life years, and healthcare costs were estimated for adults. Changes to disease burden were modelled with the PRIMEtime-CE Model, based on the 2014 population in England aged 18-80.

RESULTS:

If the sugar reduction programme was achieved in its entirety and resulted in the planned sugar reduction, then the calorie reduction was estimated to be 25 kcal/day (1 kcal=4.18 kJ=0.00418 MJ) for 4-10 year olds (95% confidence interval 23 to 26), 25 kcal/day (24 to 28) for 11-18 year olds, and 19 kcal/day (17 to 20) for adults. The reduction in obesity could represent 5.5% of the baseline obese population of 4-10 year olds, 2.2% of obese 11-18 year olds, and 5.5% of obese 19-80 year olds. A modelled 51 729 quality adjusted life years (95% uncertainty interval 45 768 to 57 242) were saved over 10 years, including 154 550 (132 623 to 174 604) cases of diabetes and relating to a net healthcare saving of £285.8m (€332.5m, $373.5m; £249.7m to £319.8m).

CONCLUSIONS:

The UK government's sugar reduction programme could reduce the burden of obesity and obesity related disease, provided that reductions in sugar levels and portion sizes do not prompt unanticipated changes in eating patterns or product formulation.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare: part support from the National Institute of Health Research Biomedical Research Centre at Oxford for the submitted work; BA-C was supported by grants from the National Institute of Health Research and Medical Research Council; ADMB was supported by grants from the Commonwealth Fund, National Institute of Health Research, and Wellcome Trust; and PS supported by grants from the British Heart Foundation and National Institute of Health Research, outside the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organisations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous three years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.

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