Now that scientists have discovered that sugar is like an addictive drug, pressure is building for action to reduce the amount of sugar that children and young people consume in sugary drinks. In this activity, students consider the evidence for causal links between sugar consumption, obesity and disease. They then weigh up arguments for and against banning sugary drink sales to under-18s.
Digestion: Describe possible health effects of unbalanced diets from data provided. Critique claims for a diet by analysing nutritional information (KS3 Science Syllabus)
Draw conclusions: Know how to judge whether the conclusion is supported by the data (KS3 Science Syllabus)
Try the activity
England National Curriculum KS3:
- Working Scientifically: Analysis and evaluation – interpret observations and data, including identifying patterns and using observations to draw conclusions.
- Biology: Nutrition and Digestion – the consequences of imbalances in the diet, including obesity.
GCSE Combined Science subject content:
- Working Scientifically: Analysis and evaluation – interpreting observations and other data, including identifying patterns and trends, making inferences and drawing conclusions.
- Biology: Health, disease and the development of medicine – diseases influenced by nutrition.
Running the activity
Starter Sugar is addictive and causes obesity. Should we ban sugary drink sales to under-18s?
Core task Sort strong and weak evidence that sugar causes obesity. Decide whether there is enough evidence to ban sugary drink sales to under-18s.
Plenary Scientists can be more confident in a conclusion if there is a mechanism explaining a link between variables.
Extension Sort argument cards to decide whether to ban sugar drink sales to under-18s.
Plenary The decision on the ban cannot be based on science alone.
For detailed running notes, download the teachers guide.
A trailer to the sensationalist film about the ubiquity of sugar in processed foods, and the impact of its excessive consumption on health.
Jeremy Paxman of BBC’s Newsnight gives the European president of Coca-cola a hard time.
Comprehensive list of links to current news items about sugar consumption from this group of UK-based academics.
A news story about the latest advice to the government from scientific advisers. They suggest that the guideline level of dietary sugar should be slashed by half to the equivalent of one can of fizzy drink a day.