London: British doctors are urging for an extra 20 percent tax on sugar-based drinks to fight the country's rising obesity epidemic, with the British Medical Association (BMA) estimating that poor diets cause 70,000 premature deaths every year.
Doctors said a tax of at least 20 percent is needed to deter customers which would amount a two-litre bottle to shoot up from 1.85 pounds (about $2) to 2.22 pounds (about $3).
The report says the extra revenue should be used to make fruit and vegetables cheaper so that we "create an environment where dietary choices default to healthy options".
"I think it is a massive problem illustrated by the fact that obesity is increasing," BMA doctor Shree Datta told the BBC.
"We're looking at 30 percent of the Britain's population being obese by the year 2030, a large extent of that is due to the amount of sugar we're actually consuming without realising," the doctor added.
The report said sugar added to food or naturally present in fruit juice and honey should account for five percent of energy intake.
The current recommended level is 10 percent and many people fail to meet that.