Usher Institute

UK Soft Drinks Levy linked to significant drop in childhood asthma admissions in England

Study finds that UK Soft Drinks Levy reduces childhood asthma hospital admissions in England by 20.9%, improving overall public health

Researchers, including Syed Ahmar Shah and Sir Aziz Sheikh from the Usher Institute, have found that the UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) is associated with a substantial reduction in hospital admissions for childhood asthma. Published in Nature Communications, the research analysed data from 2012 to 2020 and shows a 20.9% decrease in asthma admissions among children aged 5‒18, 22 months post-implementation of the levy. 

The SDIL, introduced in April 2018, was initially designed to combat childhood obesity by encouraging manufacturers to reduce sugar content in soft drinks. This new study, however, suggests an additional public health benefit: reduced asthma-related hospitalisations across all age groups and socio-economic backgrounds. 

Cite as 

Rogers, N. T., Cummins, S., Jones, C. P. et al. The UK Soft Drinks Industry Levy and childhood hospital admissions for asthma in England. Nat Commun 15, 4934 (2024). 

Further information 

Read the full Nature paper  

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