WHO rec­om­mends hefty taxes on sug­ary drinks to fight obe­sity, di­a­betes

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The UN health agency has rec­om­mended that coun­tries use tax pol­icy to in­crease the price of sug­ary drinks like so­das, sport drinks and even 100 per cent fruit juices as a way to fight obe­sity, di­a­betes and tooth de­cay. The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, in a state­ment, said that the preva­lence of obe­sity world­wide more than dou­bled be­tween 1980 and 2014, when nearly 40 per cent of peo­ple glob­ally were over­weight.

In a 36-page re­port on fis­cal pol­icy and diet, WHO also cited “strong ev­i­dence” that sub­si­dies to re­duce prices for fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles can help im­prove di­ets. It said that tax poli­cies that lead to a 20 per cent in­crease in the re­tail prices of sug­ary drinks would re­sult in a pro­por­tional re­duc­tion in con­sump­tion.

Draw­ing on lessons from cam­paigns to fight to­bacco use, WHO says im­pos­ing or in­creas­ing taxes on sug­ary drinks could help lower con­sump­tion of sug­ars. The health agency has long rec­om­mended that peo­ple keep in­take of sugar to less than 10 per cent of their to­tal en­ergy needs.

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