Increase tax of sugary drinks to fight the global epidemics of obesity and diabetes.

Rethink sugary drinks

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged governments around the world to increase the tax of sugary drinks in order to fight the global epidemics of increased obesity and type 2 diabetes around the world, the WHO said in “Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases”, a report issued on World Obesity Day. It is their hope that by increasing the tax of sweet drinks the prices would go up and hence less consumption. This would decrease obesity in our population since sugary drinks is one of the major contributors of obesity especially childhood obesity and hence reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among other deadly diseases.

According to the Ministry of health, a third of Kenyan women are either overweight or obese attributed to poor nutrition. Obesity in Kenya is higher in women compared to men. 5% of children below 5 years of age are also affected by obesity. This is worrying since being overweight increases the risks of developing diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. The ever growing middle class and the demand of fast foods and sweet drinks in Kenya which are both unhealthy is also partly to blame for this epidemic. Junk foods are everywhere especially in our cities and towns hence the trend in obesity in these areas.

“We are now in a place where we can say there is enough evidence to move on this and we encourage countries to implement effective tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to prevent obesity,” Temo Waqanivalu, of WHO’s department of Non-communicable Diseases and Health Promotion, told a briefing.

“Smart policies can help to turn the tides on this deadly epidemic, especially those aimed at reducing consumption of sugary drinks, which is fuelling obesity rates,” former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a WHO ambassador for noncommunicable diseases, said in a statement.

“This is tax on sugary drinks which is really by definition all types of beverages containing free sugars and this includes soft drinks, fruit drinks, sachet mixes, cordials, energy and sports drinks, flavoured milks, breakfast drinks, even 100% fruit juices,” Waqanivalu said.

Change of nutrition policies like this one can go a long way in curbing this epidemic of obesity in Kenya and worldwide and hence reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases caused by obesity such as diabetes and hypertension among many others.

It is very important that we are conscious of our diets. It is my hope that we live a healthy life!




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