In response to evidence that British children appear to be getting fatter, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in London has reportedly recommended imposing a 20-percent tax on sugary soft drinks for one year as an experiment to see whether it reduces consumption by kids. The group has also called for a ban on TV ads for foods high in saturated fats, sugar and salt until 9 p.m., and has suggested that the government develop “formal recommendations on reducing the proximity of fast food outlets to schools, colleges, leisure centers and other places where children gather.”

Meanwhile, the British Soft Drinks Association and other industry groups have publicly opposed such steps, claiming that most soda sold in Britain does not contain added sugar and that a new tax would hurt consumers who can “ill afford it.” The country’s Food and Drink Federation has also contended that existing restrictions on TV ads targeting kids have had “little effect, so expanding them makes no sense.” See Businessweek.com, August 12