Offering endless free refills of sugary soft drinks has been banned by the French government as a further effort to stem rising obesity rates. The French order has specified that it will be illegal to sell unlimited soft drinks at fixed price at restaurants. In 2011, it limited the servings of french fries to once a week in school cafeterias.
In 2012, the country introduced a "soda tax on drinks with added sugar or sweetener". The organization has strongly recommended countries to impose a tax on sugary drinks to fight the increased obesity rates, supporting the positive health effects of this policy with data in 2016. Around 40 percent of women and 57 percent of men between the age of 30 and 60 were reported obese or overweight in France.
On average, almost one out of six adults in the European Union is considered obese, though France's number of obese adults is a little less than the EU's average, according to the European health Interview Survey released in October. It outlaws unlimited "flavoured fizzy and non-fizzy drinks, concentrated drinks like fruit syrups, drinks based on water, milk, cereal, vegetables or fruit", but also "sports and energy drinks, fruit nectar, vegetable nectar and similar products".
The move, while drastic, isn't shocking given France's history in curbing the consumption nutritionally empty foods by its citizens. In Britain, the consumption of soft drinks is 22 gallons per year per person compared to 11 gallons per person per year in France.
The same report suggests that obesity rates can be correlated to education. 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.