WHO Pushes for More Sugar Taxes on Soda

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The organization says taxes can help thwart global obesity and diabetes epidemics. Here's the skinny.

The World Health Organization is urging governments across the globe to adopt taxes on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages. The goal is to help fight the negative health impacts of swigging such drinks.

WHO says taxing sugary drinks leads to decreased consumption, which helps to reduce tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes. The city of Berkeley, California, reported seeing such health benefits among its citizens after it adopted a sugar tax on soda and other sugary beverages in 2015.

Once considered a so-called First World problem, obesity more than doubled on a global scale between 1980 and 2014. More than 500 million people worldwide are now classified as obese, according to WHO.

The agency says fiscal policies that push the retail price of sugary drinks up by at least 20 percent “would result in proportional reductions in consumption of such products.”

The WHO recommendation comes on the heels of its new report, “Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases.”

Dr. Douglas Bettcher, director of WHO’s Department for the Prevention of NCDs, says in a press release:

“Consumption of free sugars, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of people suffering from obesity and diabetes. If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives. They can also cut health care costs and increase revenues to invest in health services.”

WHO guidelines suggest that sugar should make up less than 10 percent of daily energy intake, although less than 5 percent is preferable.

If you’re hoping to quit consuming sugar once and for all, check out “7 Tips for Breaking Your Addiction to Sugar. ”

What do you think of the government implementing a tax on sugary drinks? Sound off below or on our Facebook page.

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