France bans ‘unlimited’ soda refills in move to battle obesity
France has banned restaurants from offering unlimited refills of soda and sugary drinks, their latest bid to decrease the rise in the nation’s obesity rate. Hotels, restaurants and school cafeterias will no longer have soda fountains and will be the latest limitation on sweet drinks.
The law, which takes effect immediately, said it aimed to “limit, especially among the young,” the risks of obesity and diabetes.
The nation has a “soda tax” imposed on sweetened drinks, a ban on vending machines in schools and a limit on the servings of french fries to once a week in schools.
France’s overall obesity rate is relatively low—41% of women and 57% of men between 30 to 60 were obese or overweight—the laws are in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations. WHO presented statistics in 2016 on the good effects of imposing a sugar tax.
The NY Times covered the news, noting that “France has been at the forefront of tackling the issue, along with countries like Japan, where a national law requires companies and local governments to measure the waistlines of people between the ages of 40 and 74, and to encourage them to exercise.”
Mexico added a 10 percent surcharge on sugary drinks in 2014 to reduce alarming levels of diabetes there. After one year, sales of such beverages fell as much as 12 percent, while bottled water purchases rose 4 percent.
These figures show that obesity remains a major health problem,” Sébastien Czernichow, professor of nutrition at the University Paris -Descartes and head of the nutrition department of the European Hospital Georges Pompidou said back in 2016 of the latest obesity stats.