A recent study co-authored by Oxford University researchers has proposed a twenty per cent tax on sugary drinks that it estimates would reduce the number of adults who are obese and overweight by 285,000.The measures would add 12p to the price of an average 330ml can, and would, the study estimates, raise £276million a year, which could be used to help the NHS to treat obese patients.Researchers from the British Heart Foundation, Oxford University and the University of Reading published the study in the British Medical Journal last week. They based their research on drink consumption data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey of 2008-2010, in which 2,126 people completed a four day food and drink diary, and statistics on the cost of food and drink from the Living Costs and Food Survey of 2010. This information, alongside the results of similar studies intothe effects of food and drink pricing on consumption, allowed them to forecast the effect of a tax on spending habits.Dr Adam Briggs, the lead study author from the Nuffield Department of Population Health at Oxford University, believes that this tax would be an effective measure. He said, “Sugar-sweetened drinks are known to be bad for health and our research indicates that a twenty per cent tax could result in a meaningful reduction in the number of obese adults in the UK.“Such a tax is not going to solve obesity by itself, but we have shown it could be an effective public health measure and should be considered alongside other measures to tackle obesity in the UK.”Their findings follow calls by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges earlier this year to impose a higher tax on sugary drinks and ban pre-watershed advertising of junk food, claiming that obesity in the UK was a “huge crisis” that is particularly damaging to young people.However, critics have pointed out the fact that this would not be drastic enough to deter the people most at risk. Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, said, “The cost of sugar-sweetened beverages is currently so low that any price increase would be so marginal that it would be unlikely to affect intake. You can buy three litres of orange squash for £1 in discount stores.”People aged sixteen to thirty are the most frequent consumers of soft drinks, yet reactions amongst Oxford students have been generally negative. Most feel that it is only addressing a small part of a wider problem, and that raising awareness about the harmful effects of sugar drinks is more important than changing the price.Oisin Kidney, a medical student, said, “Even if this reduces sugary drink consumption, people will find something else to fill the void. It could just encourage people to buy in bulk and end up drinking more.”Tom Jackson, a PPE student, said, “If you have sugary drinks often enough to endanger your health, you won’t be put off by a small increase in price. You’d need a much stronger campaign to make any difference.”
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Steely Dan announced today that the band will return to New York City’s legendary Beacon Theatre for a nine-night residency of themed performances. From October 17 – October 30, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers will stage complete performances of Steely Dan’s Countdown to Ecstasy (1973), The Royal Scam (1976), Aja (1977), Gaucho (1980), as well as Donald Fagen’s solo album The Nightfly (1982), plus “By Popular Demand” and “Greatest Hits” nights. In addition to the nine-night NYC run, Steely Dan has announced five October performance dates in Richmond, VA; Pittsburgh, PA; Buffalo, NY; Baltimore, MD; and Bethlehem, PA.According to the band’s announcement, Donald Fagen will be joined once again by the crack group of brilliant and acclaimed musicians who have famously supported him in recent years, including: Jon Herington (guitar), Keith Carlock (drums), Freddie Washington (bass), Jim Beard (keyboards), a four-piece horn section and three backup vocalists.For the October concerts, American Express® cardmembers can purchase advance tickets beginning Tues., Mar. 27 at 10 a.m. EDT through Thurs., Mar. 29 at 10 p.m. EDT. Tickets will go on sale to the public on Fri, Mar. 30 at 10 a.m. EDT and can be purchased through Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com or charge-by-phone at 1-800-745-3000. Tickets are subject to applicable service charges, and event time and date are subject to change. Fans should check local listings for updated tour and ticketing information. See below for Steely Dan’s fall schedule. For more information, visit the band’s website.
BOONE, Iowa – Proud of where you call home?Heck yes, and IMCA is giving you the chance to prove it during the upcoming IMCA Speedway Motors Super Nationals fueled by Casey’s.“This year’s contest is open to drivers in all seven divisions competing at Boone Speedway and trophies will be awarded in the four divisions that crown champions on Saturday night,” IMCA Marketing Director Kevin Yoder said. “We encourage all Super Nationals competitors to be as creative as they can with their home state representation, while making sure required decals are in the correct location on their car.”The same theme was used in choosing best looking entries at the Duel In the Desert last fall.“We wanted to make this announcement now so drivers can start making plans with their graphics company,” Yoder said. “If they let us know in advance, we can make sure announcers identify them during hot laps, for example.”
Is the money argument valid, though? The answer appears to be “No.”HOT STOVE: Top five free agents who aren’t Bryce Harper, Manny Machado Most teams already have expensive DH candidates on their rosters, and the glut of offense-first free agents would make late signings affordable. In fact, it should be relatively painless to add bats until and unless baseball’s economic structure changes.To show how easy it would be for NL teams to embrace the DH for the 2019 season, SN put together this group of top in-house options for each club (2019 salary figures, per Baseball Prospectus, in parentheses):DiamondbacksYasmany Tomas ($15.5 million). No, really. The Snakes are paying their former right fielder to rake in the PCL because they don’t have a roster spot for him at the moment. This way, “El Tanque” would be able to rake at Chase Field. Before his game fell apart, he was a legit right-handed power threat, with 31 home runs and an .820 OPS in 2016. BravesBrian McCann ($2 million). Atlanta could still use McCann behind the plate on occasion as Tyler Flowers’ backup, but his main job would become swinging the bat against right-handers. The Braves could go with right-handed hitters Josh Donaldson ($23 million) and Adam Duvall against left-handers. That, in turn, would allow Johan Camargo to play more. Atlanta is not shy about adding catching depth, and it has journeyman Raffy Lopez on the 40-man roster if it wanted to carry a third backstop over a 13th pitcher.CubsKyle Schwarber ($3.39 million). He’s the free space in this bingo game. Brawny, defensively challenged as a playing-out-of-position outfielder (catching is his first love), the slugger as DH would allow Joe Maddon to make left field a revolving door of, say, Ben Zobrist, Kris Bryant and Ian Happ. Speaking of Zobrist and Happ, those switch hitters would be useful options against left-handers.RedsMatt Kemp ($21.75 million). The Dodgers are paying a reported $7 million of that salary this year, which means Cincinnati is committing a lot of money itself. Making him a regular DH would be a good use of those funds. He enjoyed a shocking revival in the first half of the 2018 season before slumping badly in August and then recovering as a part-time player in September. He’d allow the Reds to move Scott Schebler to left field and slot Phil Ervin into center to replace Billy Hamilton. RockiesDaniel Murphy ($10 million). Colorado signed him to be their regular first baseman, but his age (34 on April 1), knee issues and defensive shortcomings (he’s better at first than he is at second, but he’s still not great at first) scream “DH at Coors!” If Colorado didn’t want to do that, it could go with Mark Reynolds, who’ll be in camp as a nonroster player.DodgersMax Muncy (salary TBD). The surprise hit of the 2018 season could become the default option against right-handers. He’s a versatile infielder, but LA could cover with other players, especially if Corey Seager (elbow) is ready to return to shortstop. Manager Dave Roberts could go with a rotation of right-handed hitters against left-handers: David Freese, Enrique Hernandez, Chris Taylor and regular third baseman Justin Turner.MarlinsMartin Prado ($15 million). As always with Prado, you have to attach “health permitting.” The Fish’s former third baseman has had trouble staying in the lineup because of injuries; keeping him out of the field could be the remedy. Brian Anderson looks to be the long-term solution at third in Miami, so Prado is looking at a bench role in the final year of his contract. The young Marlins could benefit from seeing his professional at-bats on a more regular basis.BrewersEric Thames ($6 million). He isn’t slated to get much time in the outfield or first base, but he would become a regular threat against right-handers as the DH. He hit 15 of his 16 homers against them last year, albeit with a .223/.313/.491 slash line. Milwaukee could use first baseman Jesus Aguilar or left fielder Ryan Braun against left-handers, which would increase at-bats for Hernan Perez.MetsTodd Frazier ($9 million). It could be Yoenis Cespedes ($29 million) later in the season if he returns from heel surgeries, and Jeff McNeil could be a platoon option, but Frazier would be the default early pick (remember, this is all hypothetical). Frazier is looking at a shuttle between third and first base as New York fits Jed Lowrie into the infield, and when Peter Alonso is called up to take over at first, infield at-bats will become scarcer.PhilliesMaikel Franco ($5.2 million). Making him the DH would allow Philly to make Scott Kingery the everyday third baseman — assuming, of course, that Manny Machado doesn’t sign with the Fightin’s. Franco turned in a 113 OPS+ in 2018, but he missed time late in the season with injuries and lost time to the Carlos Santana, who moved across the diamond from first base in September. The Phils dealt Santana, an ideal DH type, in the offseason to open up first for Rhys Hoskins. PiratesCorey Dickerson ($8.5 million). He appeared in 117 games as a DH during his two-year stint with the Rays, but now he’s a Gold Glove left fielder after working to improve his defense, so DH might not be a good idea. Pittsburgh could instead go with Jung Ho Kang (which would keep Colin Moran at third base), or it could troll for a free agent (think former Pirates prospect Robbie Grossman). CardinalsJose Martinez (salary TBD). He’s another gimme. He lost his first-base gig when the Redbirds acquired Paul Goldschmidt, and he isn’t solid enough with the glove to be a regular outfielder for the club. St. Louis reportedly offered him to the Giants at the winter meetings for reliever Will Smith; with the DH in play, the Cards could keep Martinez and his .821 OPS and 17 homers in the lineup. PadresFranmil Reyes (salary TBD). Wil Myers is moving back to the outfield, which means Reyes will be fighting for at-bats against Hunter Renfroe, Franchy Cordero and Travis Jankowski, barring a trade. Reyes’ power could be the decider if DH were an option. He had 16 dingers and a 137 OPS+ in half a season (285 PAs) last year. Advanced fielding metrics had him at minus-1 DRS last season, which was well behind Myers, Renfroe and Manuel Margot. GiantsPablo Sandoval ($545,000). Yes, the Panda. He’s hanging on as a bench player partly because the Giants only have to pay him the minimum while the Red Sox choke down $18.6 million. A DH gig could extend the 32-year-old switch hitter’s career a few years. He contributed nine home runs and a 105 OPS+ in 252 plate appearances for San Francisco last season. NationalsMatt Adams ($3 million). “Big City” completes this board. He’s sharing first base with Ryan Zimmerman at the moment, but the DH would get both men in the lineup at the same time. Utility player Howie Kendrick would be another option, mostly in place of the left-handed swinging Adams against left-handers. One very large acorn fell from Ken Rosenthal’s report for The Athletic on Tuesday (subscription required) about negotiations between MLB and the Players Association on rules changes: The union in January proposed adding the designated hitter to the National League this year.A rapid change seems unlikely given the decadeslong intransigence of NL team owners. Among the reasons: They don’t want to increase payroll by employing full-time DHs.