Wednesday January 17, 2018

WHO: Tax on Sugary Drinks Could Help Curb Global Obesity

The widespread consumption of sugar is a major factor in the growing global obesity epidemic

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FILE - Sodas and energy drinks line the shelves in a grocery store in Springfield, Illinois, May 18, 2016. The World Health Organization recommends countries use tax policy to increase the price of sugary drinks as a way to fight obesity and diabetes.(VOA)
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  • The WHO estimates 42 million children under age 5 were overweight or obese last year. This represents an increase of about 11 million during the past 15 years. Nearly half of these children live in Asia and 25 percent in Africa
  • The WHO report says China tops the worldwide obesity rankings with 43 million men and 46 million women.
  • The United States, which has been bumped into second place, has 41.7 million men and 46 million women who are obese.

Geneva, October 12, 2016: The World Health Organization (WHO) says the widespread consumption of sugar is a major factor in the growing global obesity epidemic. To help counter the trend, the U.N. agency is calling on governments to tax sugary drinks to lower consumption and reduce this worldwide health risks.

The call coincides with the publication of a new WHO report that found that in 2014 more than one third of adults around the world were overweight, with half a billion considered obese.

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More troubling, the WHO estimates 42 million children under age 5 were overweight or obese last year. This represents an increase of about 11 million during the past 15 years. Nearly half of these children live in Asia and 25 percent in Africa.

The U.N. agency says unhealthy diets are behind the rise in diabetes, which now accounts for more than 422 million cases and an estimated 1.5 million deaths a year. It says the consumption of sugar, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of obesity and diabetes.

Temo Waganivalu, coordinator for WHO’s Department for the Prevention on Non-Communicable Diseases, told VOA putting a tax on sugary drinks would reduce consumption and save lives.

FILE - A woman walks along a boardwalk in New York. The WHO recommends people keep their sugar intake at below 10 percent of their total energy needs.(VOA)
FILE – A woman walks along a boardwalk in New York. The WHO recommends people keep their sugar intake at below 10 percent of their total energy needs.(VOA)

“If we increase the tax and that gets passed on to the consumers resulting in a 20 percent increase in price, you are more likely to get, and I say proportional, a 20 percent reduction in the consumption. In addition… you will be more likely to achieve the ultimate health outcome we are aiming for, which is the reduction in obesity and diabetes,” she said.

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Waganivalu said Mexico, which in 2014 introduced a 10 percent tax on sugary drinks, had a 6 percent reduction in consumption by the end of the year. Among poor people, the number of consumers decreased by 17 percent.

The WHO report says China tops the worldwide obesity rankings with 43 million men and 46 million women. The United States, which has been bumped into second place, has 41.7 million men and 46 million women who are obese.

The WHO recommends people keep their sugar intake at below 10 percent of their total energy needs, and reduce it to less than 5 percent for additional health benefits. It warns people to be careful in their calculations because sugar is everywhere.

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For example, one tablespoon of ketchup contains one teaspoon of sugar and an average cup of breakfast cereal contains about 4 teaspoons of sugar.(VOA)

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  • Antara

    Excessive consumption of sugar is indeed very unhealthy!

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10 Quick Facts About Delhi Pollution Problem

Delhi pollution problem is a matter of grave concern for the authorities in the capital, especially before Diwali and the upcoming winter season. Supreme Court insists upon following strict environmental regulations by the government in order to prevent the release of toxic substances such as carbon, sulfur and coal.

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Smog New Delhi
Vehicles move through morning as smog covers New Delhi. voa

According to a current report by the World Health Organization (WHO), among the 20 most contaminated cities on the earth, 13 are in India, in which Delhi tops the list.

Every year air pollution in New Delhi causes smog during the winters

Here are some important issues and steps which are being taken to control the Pollution level in Delhi.

  • The Supreme Court has banned the sale of firecrackers in Diwali, India’s largest festival, to deal with the air pollution problem in Delhi, that causes smog during the winters.
  • The Court has declared 24th October as a deadline for the government to regulate the use of petcoke fuel.
  • Every day nearly eight residents are dying in India’s capital due to air pollution.
  • Despite the authorities in the capital setting rules to clear the air by cutting traffic, air pollution continues to be a severe threat to the lives of the residents of the capital.
  • A new fuel, petroleum coke, which is the replacement of coal, has further enhanced the problem of the air pollution.
  • Petroleum coke, also known as Petcoke is found in tar sands in the pits of Canada. These are some of the dirtiest crude oil sources. At US Gulf Coast, it is refined where petrol and diesel are removed. Petcoke is the left out substance that produces further harmful substances such as carbon, sulfur and heavy metal emission such as coal.
  • It is exported to the countries like India and China where it is used as a fuel. Thus the developed counties manage to make money out of this harmful waste material due to lax environmental laws in China and India.
  • China has reduced its dependence upon petcoke since 2014. Now India is the largest importer of petcoke.
  • In February, Supreme Court has ordered the government to ban the use of petcoke or put a limit on the sulphur emission in the process.
  • The regulations have limited the sulfur emissions to 4,000 ppm but the regional environmental agencies confirm the presence of 72,000 ppm of sulphur in the petcoke.