WHO report: Taxing more to drastically reduce sugar consumption

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Increasing by 50% the price of sugary drinks would reduce their consumption by 50% according to the World Health Organization. The institution asks the governments to tax sugary products.

In a new report, the UN agency estimates that there are “increasing evidences” that the imposition of taxes on sugary drinks “would result in a proportional reduction of the consumption.”

A 20% increase in prices of these drinks would lead to a consumption reduction of 20% and a 50% increase would reduce consumption by half, said WHO.

Thus, the World Health Organization (WHO) called two weeks ago the governments to tax sugary drinks in order to combat obesity in the world where one third of the adult population is overweight, saying it could reduce consumption of these products.

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“If governments impose a tax on products such as sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives,” said Douglas Bettcher, head of the department of prevention of noncommunicable diseases at WHO.

In Mexico, which in 2014 imposed a tax on sugary drinks, causing a 10% increase in their prices, consumption was reduced by 6%.

“Fiscal policies should target the food and beverages for which safer alternatives exist,” said the report.

WHO has long considered sugars should constitute less than 10% of the daily energy consumption of a person, and now calls on countries to halve this rate to 5% .This would represent 25 grams, an equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar per day, while a can of soda is 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Twice as many cases of obesity in 35 years

Globally, the number of cases of obesity has doubled since 1980. In 2014, over 1.9 billion adults – those 18 years and over – were overweight, including more than 600 million were obese.

In 2015, 42 million children under 5 years old were overweight or obese.

At the same time, the number of adults with diabetes has exploded worldwide in 35 years, from 108 million in 1980 to 422,000,000 in 2014, according to the first global WHO report published in April.

In 2012, diabetes killed 1.5 million people worldwide. It must be added 2.2 million deaths caused by diseases related to diabetes, making a total of 3.7 million deaths.