Fighting obesity: France bans free soda drinks refills

From Friday restaurants in France will be breaking the law if they offer unlimited fizzy drinks to customers

Restaurants and other spaces catering to the public in France have been banned from offering unlimited sugary drinks in an effort to reduce obesity.

It is now illegal to sell unlimited soft drinks at a fixed price or offer them unlimited for free.

The ban applies to all soft drinks or soda "fountains" in places open to the public, including fast food-chains and restaurants.

 It also bans refills on any flavoured or carbonated drinks, concentrates like fruit syrups, sports drinks, energy drinks, or essentially anything that comes with added sugar. 

The number of overweight or obese people in France is below the EU average but is on the rise. The highest rate of obesity is in Malta, at 28%.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends taxing sugary drinks, linking them to obesity and diabetes.

Past the age of 30, nearly 57% of French men are overweight or obese, according to a report published in October by the French medical journal Bulletin Epidemiologique Hebdomadaire.

Some 41% of women in the same age category are also overweight or obese, a Eurostat survey found.

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