Restaurants, cafes and canteens in France have been banned from offering customers unlimited amounts of sugary drinks in an attempt to reduce obesity. Among the European countries, Malta has the highest obesity rate at 26 percent, while the lowest shares of obesity were recorded in Romania, at 9.4 percent.
The government's new order has been implemented from January 27. In 2011 it banned ketchup from school cafeterias and only allowed chips on the menu once a week. These places can no longer have soda fountains anymore.
France's decision is in line with the recommendations of the WHO, which has strongly recommended nations to impose a tax on sugary beverages to fight increasing obesity rates and support its health policy. In 2004, France pulled soda vending machines from its schools and has set limits on the frequency with which foods like french fries can be served to students.
Five Guys, a newcomer in France, was reported to have opted to add microchips to cups so when customers try to get a refill from its fountains, they automatically switch off. Parliament approved the ban in April 2015 and enshrined it in law in January previous year as part of drive to reduce obesity. According to the WHO statistics in 2016, imposing a sugar tax has good effects on the health of consumers as they tend to buy less soda or sugary drinks because of the heightened prices.
Currently, France is among the developed countries with the lowest obesity and overweight rates. As obesity levels across Europe and other parts of the world are rising, medical experts and government agencies are searching for ways to deal with obesity epidemic.