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15/09/2017

Don’t Sugarcoat the Truth

The main headline from the recent budget was George Osbourne’s plan to introduce a tax on sugary drinks, delighting Jamie Oliver and similar health campaigners. Having been on the horizon for some time, the UK is one of the first countries in the world to impose such a tax in an effort to tackle childhood obesity and improve the health of the next generation.

Treating obesity and its consequences cost the NHS £5.1billion each year. With obesity growing it was clear something had to be done, even if the more sceptical among us believe the sugar tax is the Chancellor’s way of clawing back some funding to counteract the public sector cuts necessary to try to eliminate the national deficit.

Two years ago, Public Health England set out to review the available data and evidence around current sugar intakes, where it comes from, associated health issues and the benefits of reducing the amounts we consume. Conclusions were then drawn including recommended actions on how to move forward.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and such a complex issue meant the amount of data analysed to produce reports was huge. From marketing and advertising volumes to supermarket price promotions, from BMI within various age groups to projected healthcare savings. A challenge such as this meant that all sorts of data had to be triangulated and quadrangulated all manner of ways to ensure any findings were robust, especially given the importance of the government implementing plans to address the issue at hand.

The data around current sugar intakes and NHS impact has always been there. The fact it wasn’t sugar coated (pun intended) at all meant that action could be taken to address why we were in the situation and how severe it was. The subsequent analysis carried out contributed to the surprising decision taken by the Chancellor to introduce the sugar tax by 2018.

Don’t sweet talk your data to anyone. If issues are highlighted, get to the source of the problems as soon as possible. Traditional analytical methods could mean this takes some time in some scenarios; true business intelligence, such as that provided by Draper & Dash, means data is already open to explorative analysis, resulting in problems being further explained by exploring the application they were found in. Triangulating the appropriate metrics, drilling down into the detail and projecting future figures are all a fundamental part of Draper & Dash’s healthcare applications.

Let us help you keep on top of the burning issues, and help to analyse, rationalise and plan for the future, saving time, resource and money while improving the health of your business. How sweet would that be?

Acknowledgements: ‘Sugar Reduction – the a for action’ by Public Health England