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Researchers Recommend a Sugar Tax to Prevent or Delay the Onset of Lifestyle Diseases

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sweetened beverages are a major source of sugar in Canadians’ diets; consumption in excess of these drinks is linked with higher prevalence of the so-called “lifestyle diseases,” including type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and cancer. Not included in this study, but of particular note, are Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, for which diabetes is a major risk factor. Researchers from the University of Waterloo examined the prevalence of sugary drink consumption and its impact on health and healthcare costs in Canada. “Sugary drinks” include pop, sweetened coffee and tea beverages, energy and sports drinks, flavoured water and milk, drinkable yogurt, and juice. From 2004 – 2015, sweetened beverage sales increased overall; while juice and pop sales are declining, all other types of sugary drinks are on the rise – and kids and teens are the biggest consumers. When consumed in excess, these drinks “often [lead] to serious illness, lost productivity and significant health care costs,” and will be responsible for a predicted 63 000 deaths and over $50 billion in healthcare costs over the next 25 years; the previous numbers do not even account for the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The UW Researchers propose a 20% tax on manufacturers of sugary drinks as part of the solution. Taxes on sweetened beverages have been successfully implemented in Mexico, California, and various European countries. Researcher David Hammond stated that “a Canadian tax on sugary drinks has the potential to reduce the prevalence of obesity and to improve the health of Canadians, while providing substantial revenue to support other public health measures” such as health education, access to healthy foods and drinks, and improved labelling and marketing policies.

SOURCE: Newswire:

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DATE RETRIEVED: March 16, 2017

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