Chairman of the National Obesity Forum, Tam Fry has said NHS England restricting sugary drinks sales is “an excellent idea” because “you are in a hospital to get better”.
Mr Fry told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I think it is because you are in a hospital in order to get better and if you have a proliferation of sugar, and that has been the case up until now, that is going to be more difficult to achieve.
“The staff themselves are getting extremely concerned about the fact that in their restaurants and canteens, they have very little option but food which is stuff full of fat, sugar and salt.
“The interesting thing about this announcement for NHS England is that the Tameside hospital near Manchester over the last half year banned all sugar from their canteens and nobody has complained.”
He added: “The important thing about Tameside is already surrounding hospitals are starting to take up the same kind of regiment that they have installed.
“I think it is an excellent idea.”
Only one in 10 drinks sold
Only one in 10 drinks sold in hospitals in England will be sugar-sweetened beverages, it has been announced as part of the NHS's efforts to curb rising levels of obesity.
Efforts to restrict sugary drinks sales could help patients, visitors and staff cut down on their sugar intake.
It is estimated that more than half of the NHS workforce in England are overweight or obese.
NHS England said that not only does it have an effect on sickness among the workforce, it also has an impact on the NHS's ability to give patients credible and effective advice about their health.
The national health body announced that all 227 trusts across England have pledged to reduce sales of sugar-sweetened drinks to 10% or less of their total drinks sales.
Trusts already signed up to the pledge have seen significant reductions in sales of sugar-sweetened drinks.
The proportion of drinks sold on NHS premises that contain added sugar has reduced to just 7.4% in participating trusts, NHS England said.
This means that nearly 30 million teaspoons of sugar have been removed from NHS canteens, shops and vending machines as a result.
‘Important call to action’
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens said: "Every hospital in the country is now answering this important call to action and the NHS is rightly leading the way in battling the growing obesity epidemic across the country.
"Obesity and its associated dangers is a worrying challenge facing the NHS and so it is crucial, as we draw up a long term plan for the future of the NHS, that we take action where we can to avoid a long list of preventable problems in the years ahead."
NHS England said 23 NHS Trusts and two retailers have decided to stop selling sugary drinks altogether.
Trusts have already been incentivised to limit confectionery sold in hospitals.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England, added: "We have been clear that the growing obesity rates sweeping the country are a public health crisis.
"Obesity is associated with type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, many of the common forms of cancer, and a string of other illnesses.
"Our own sugar restrictions are delivering good results and as part of the long term plan we are exploring all potential options, including very low calorie diets to tackle obesity and type 2 diabetes."