Thursday March 21, 2019

Taxes on soft drinks, alcohol most beneficial to poor: Lancet

The study helps counter fears that such taxes will necessarily disproportionately harm the poor

0
//
What Causes Alcohol Addiction?
What Causes Alcohol Addiction? (IANS)

Taxes on unhealthy products like soft drinks, alcohol and tobacco, have the potential to produce major health gains among the poorest in society who are disproportionately affected by diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes, researchers suggest.

The study helps counter fears that such taxes will necessarily disproportionately harm the poor. In a series of five papers published in the The Lancet, the researchers argued that taxes are a powerful response to rising rates of chronic diseases and an inescapable solution to tackling non-communicable diseases (NCDs) — stroke, heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and cancer.

Cold drinks can cause tooth decay, obesity, etc. Wikimedia Commons
Cold drinks’ price rise will benefit poor too. Wikimedia Commons

NCDs are responsible for 38 million deaths each year, 16 million of these are among people aged under 70 and “are a major cause and consequence of poverty worldwide”.

“Responding to this challenge means big investments to improve health care systems worldwide, but there are immediate and effective tools at our disposal,” said Rachel Nugent from the RTI International in the US.

“Taxes on unhealthy products can produce major health gains, and the evidence shows these can be implemented fairly, without disproportionately harming the poorest in society,” she added.

The findings showed that high income households generally consume more, and spend more, on alcohol, soft drinks and snacks, compared to low income households, while patterns for tobacco are less consistent. In India, wealthier households spent seven times more on alcohol and three times more on soft drinks and snacks compared to poorer households.

Also Read: 12 things you must know about cold drinks in India

Increased taxes on unhealthy products will therefore affect a larger number of high-income households than low-income households, meaning that the revenues generated by taxes will come disproportionately from high income households. The analysis is based on data from 13 countries – Chile, Guatemala, Panama, Nicaragua, Albania, Poland, Turkey, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Niger, Nigeria, India and Timor-Leste.

The study helps counter fears that such taxes will necessarily disproportionately harm the poor. “The evidence suggests that concerns about higher taxes on tobacco, alcohol, and soft drinks harming the poor are overstated. Price policies such as taxes will be a key part of the response to rising rates of non-communicable diseases,” Nugent added.

Next Story

Cardiovascular Events Cause 58% Deaths Among Diabetics

The medicine likewise helps lower the amount of sodium in the body and reduce triglyceride levels and blood pressure

0
Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

Fifty-eight percent of deaths among people with type 2 diabetes are due to cardiovascular events, a leading Mexican expert has said.

“Patients who live with this disease have a greater risk of premature death or disability derived from cardiovascular events,” Hector Sanchez Mijangos, President of the Mexican Diabetes Federation, told Efe news.

The specialist said that the high glucose levels associated with diabetes damage blood vessels, resulting in problems with blood pressure and vision, joint pain and other maladies.

Data from the World Health Organization indicate that more 442 million people suffer from type 2 diabetes.

Mexico’s Health Secretariat has found that while roughly 13 million inhabitants of the Aztec nation are living with diabetes, only half of those afflicted know they have the disease.

In 2015 alone, according to Mijangos, there were more than 98,000 premature deaths in Mexico related to diabetes and the average age of those who died was 66.7 years old.

Diabetes
Representational image. Pixabay

“This is regrettable, because these people could have lived roughly another 15 years,” he said.

According to the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Survey, only 25 percent of Mexicans suffering with diabetes are managing their condition adequately.

That figure illustrates “why our greatest challenge continues to be access and adherence to treatment”, Mijangos said.

Also Read- Researchers Discover Balance of Two Enzymes That May Help Treat Pancreatic Cancer

To improve treatment options, Mexican health authorities in January issued an approval for the use of canagliflozin, a drug that helps reduce the amount of blood glucose reabsorbed by the kidneys, which in turns causes more glucose to be eliminated through urination.

“With this medicine, a person can lose 100 milligrams of glucose per day as well as about 400 kilocalories (4,000 calories) a day, which also helps with weight loss,” Mijangos said.

The medicine likewise helps lower the amount of sodium in the body and reduce triglyceride levels and blood pressure.

A scientific trial involving more than 10,000 patients worldwide showed that when combined with conventional treatment, canagliflozin can reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events by up to 18 percent. (IANS)