Wednesday September 19, 2018

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

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

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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.

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Avoid Diabetes With Yoga, Weight Lifting

They studied the effects of weekly time spent on resistance exercise, lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises and aerobic moderate and vigorous physical activity

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Yoga
Avoid Diabetes by practicing Yoga. Pixabay

If you wish to avoid diabetes, better start exercising for just half-an-hour a day, a Harvard University research has found while advising yoga and weight lifting.

According to the research, the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes was cut by between 30 and 40 per cent with just three-and-a-half hours of exercise a week, Daily Mail reported Wednesday.

It was also found that just an hour’s workout every week could cut the risk by 13 percent.

The study, which followed 100,000 women, also showed muscle-strengthening exercises such as yoga and weight lifting fend off the condition.

Scientists showed that those doing at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity a week – and at least an hour of muscle-strengthening – had the best results.

Weight Lifting
Weight Lifting. Pixabay

Published by the journal PLOS Medicine, the study was carried out by scientists from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Southern Denmark.

Researchers studied 99,316 middle-aged and older women, who did not have diabetes at the beginning of the study, for eight years. During the period, 3,491 women developed Type 2 diabetes.

They studied the effects of weekly time spent on resistance exercise, lower intensity muscular conditioning exercises and aerobic moderate and vigorous physical activity.

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“Our study suggests that engagement in muscle-strengthening and conditioning activities (resistance exercise, yoga, stretching, toning) is associated with a lower risk of (Type 2 diabetes),” the researchers said.

“Despite limitations to which this research can be applied to women in general, it underlines the message that leading an active healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes,” said Richard Elliott, research communications officer at Diabetes, UK. (IANS)

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