Saturday November 23, 2019

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)
  • 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)

  • Antara

    Excessive consumption of sugar is indeed very unhealthy!

Next Story

WHO Warns A Rise In The Number Of Measles Cases

They also warn the spread of falsehoods and misinformation.

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Measles, WHO
A health worker vaccinates a toddler against measles in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. VOA

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns a spike in the number of measles cases globally is putting hard won progress toward the elimination of this highly contagious, deadly disease at risk.

Measles immunizations have saved more than 21 million lives globally since 2000. But, unveiling a new report, the World Health Organization says multiple outbreaks of this killer disease since 2016 have caused an estimated 110,000 deaths in all regions of the globe.

In addition, WHO’s director of immunization, vaccines and biologicals, Martin Friede, says there has been a very worrying jump of more than 30 percent in reported measles cases worldwide.

Measles, WHO
Two sick children wait for treatment after being admitTed to a hospital in Agats, Asmat District, after the government dispatched military and medical personnel to the remote region of Papua to combat malnutrition and measles, Indonesia. VOA

“We are seeing sustained measles transmission in countries that had previously not seen measles transmission for many years. So, the countries had eliminated measles, but it has now been re-established in the country. This is very worrying. This suggests that we are actually regressing in certain cases,” Friede said.

The report finds the Americas, the eastern Mediterranean region, and Europe have experienced the greatest surges in cases, with the western Pacific the only region where the number of cases has fallen.

But, it notes the biggest increases continue to be in areas with low immunization coverage where measles is endemic. For instance, the report finds a two-fold rise in cases of the disease in Africa.

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A vial of measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and an information sheet is seen at Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, Feb.26, 2015. VOA

Health officials attribute the growth of measles cases to a sense of complacency, especially in industrialized countries where the disease has not been seen for many years.

Also Read: Europe Suffers From A Severe Measles Outbreak

They also warn the spread of falsehoods and misinformation, such as the debunked link between measles vaccinations and autism, discourages many parents from immunizing their children against the disease. (VOA)