Wednesday July 18, 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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What Causes Alcohol Addiction?
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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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Diabetes? Living Near Woods May Cut Risk of Elevated Blood Sugar

The researchers hope that the findings will prompt doctors and other healthcare professionals to recommend patients to spend more time in greenery and natural areas

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Spending more time with nature also increased sleep duration and significantly reduced the levels of salivary cortisol -- a physiological marker of stress.
Spending more time with nature also increased sleep duration and significantly reduced the levels of salivary cortisol -- a physiological marker of stress. Pixabay

Feeling unwell? Instead of popping up a pill, sitting in the lap of nature can have various health benefits, says a study.

The findings showed that living near the nature or getting regular exposure to greenery may reduce the risk of a host of illnesses including Type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, preterm birth and stress — and boost overall health.

“We often reach for medication when we’re unwell but exposure to health-promoting environments is increasingly recognized as both preventing and helping treat disease. Our study shows that the size of these benefits can be enough to have a meaningful clinical impact,” said Andy Jones from Britain’s University of East Anglia (UEA).

“People living near greenery likely have more opportunities for physical activity and socializing. Meanwhile, exposure to a diverse variety of bacteria present in natural areas may also have benefits for the immune system and reduce inflammation,” said lead author, Caoimhe Twohig-Bennett from UEA’s Norwich Medical School.

Health-boosting properties of forest bathing can be explained by Phytoncides, which are organic compounds with antibacterial properties, released by trees, the researchers said.
Health-boosting properties of forest bathing can be explained by Phytoncides, which are organic compounds with antibacterial properties, released by trees, the researchers said. Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Research, the team studied data from over 140 studies involving more than 290 million people from 20 countries including the UK, the US, Spain, France, Germany, Australia and Japan.

Spending more time with nature also increased sleep duration and significantly reduced the levels of salivary cortisol — a physiological marker of stress.

Also Read: Air Pollution Linked to 3.2 Million New Diabetes Cases in One Year

The researchers hope that the findings will prompt doctors and other healthcare professionals to recommend patients to spend more time in greenery and natural areas.

“We hope that this research will inspire people to get outside more and feel the health benefits for themselves. Hopefully our results will encourage policymakers to invest in the creation, regeneration, and maintenance of parks and greenery, particularly in urban residential areas,” Twohig-Bennett noted. (IANS)

One response to “Diabetes? Living Near Woods May Cut Risk of Elevated Blood Sugar”

  1. Bad sugar. I found out I had type 2. I had no idea what to do or how I was going to eat. I did know that I was very motivated not to take medication. Then I read a diabetes story (google ” How I Freed Myself From Diabetes ” ) Eight weeks later I have lost 35 pounds and am not taking any medication and have a blood glucose reading that averages 105. The first few days saw an immediate change. I went from a blood glucose reading of 314 to 143 in three days. I immediately started shedding weight without exercise.