Bad day for the soda industry. The World Health Organization is now urging countries to consider introducing a sugary drinks tax to aid public health outcomes.
- “The WHO’s advice comes as more and more countries are considering fiscal measures to dissuade people from buying the large quantities of colas, lemonades and other sugary soft drinks that have been identified as a major cause of the global overweight and obesity crisis.” (DFPI adds: We prefer public health-focused, rather than obesity-focused, framing of nutrition issues. Sugary drinks are problematic for metabolic and cardiovascular health, regardless of weight).
- “Consumption of free sugars, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of people suffering from obesity and diabetes,” said Dr Douglas Bettcher, director of the WHO’s department for the prevention of non-communicable diseases.”
- “The WHO has already published nutritional advice saying nobody actually needs sugar in their diet. Its guidance says we should restrict our intake of free sugars to a maximum of 10% of our energy needs, preferably 5%.”
- “Senior health experts in the US have joined the fray, supporting a tax in Colombia. Barry Popkin, professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Walter Willett, of the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, and others have written to the Colombian ministry of health about the dangers of sugar consumption and the effectiveness of taxation.”
- “A growing number of cities and countries – including Mexico – are showing that taxes on sugary drinks are effective at driving down consumption. The World Health Organisation report released today can help these effective policies spread to more places around the world, and that will help save many lives,” said Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and now the WHO’s global ambassador for non-communicable diseases.
Meanwhile, PepsiCo and The American Beverage Association (the beverage industry’s trade group, which has spent $14 million this year to fight three proposed soda tax measures in the Bay Area) will all have booths at the upcoming AND conference in Boston. Keep an eye out for materials minimizing concerns on added sugar and empty calories from sugar-sweetened beverages.