Scientists at Oxford University have calculated there will be 144,000 fewer cases of obesity among adults and children alike if the tax on sugar-laden soft drinks achieves its objectives.
However, the biggest effect will be among under-11s, among whom there would be 45,700 fewer cases, 9.8 per cent of the total.
The study also found that reducing sugar content of all high-sugar drinks by 30% and moderately sugary drinks by 15% would lead to 19,000 fewer cases of Type 2 diabetes, and 269,000 fewer instances of tooth decay.
The Levy will see drinks with at least 5g of sugar per 100ml face taxation, with a higher rate for those with more than 8g.
Study leader Dr Adam Briggs said: ‘Our study provides the first estimates of the likely health impact of the UK soft drinks levy.
‘The good news is that our study suggests that all of the most likely industry responses to the tax including reducing sugar content of soft drinks, raising prices of high-sugar drinks and increasing the market share of low-sugar drinks have the potential to improve health by reducing rates of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
‘The extent of the health benefits of the tax will depend on industry’s response.
‘We must therefore be vigilant to ensure the food industry acts to remove sugar from soft drinks, and that where the tax is passed on to consumers it increases the price of targeted products only – drinks with high levels of sugar.’