IDF urge world leaders to tax sugar, reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes rates

Jack Woodfield
Thu, 12 Nov 2015
IDF urge world leaders to tax sugar, reduce obesity and type 2 diabetes rates
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has called for world leaders to use sugar taxes to fight the dual epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The recommendation comes ahead of a Group of 20 (G20) meeting this weekend in Turkey, with IDF chief executive Petra Wilson calling for cooperation in tackling obesity, which is a key risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes accounts for nearly 90 per cent of total diabetes cases.

Wilson added that diabetes is putting stress on entire economies as well as people's health. The IDF estimates that most countries spend five to 20 per cent of their healthcare budget on tackling diabetes. The NHS spends 10 per cent of its drugs bill on diabetes medication.

Some countries have already experimented with sugar taxes, such as Mexico, Chile and France, and Wilson has urged for all the world leaders to enforce a sugar tax. Mexico introduced a 10 per cent sugar tax in 2014 and sales of sugary soft drinks were cut by six per cent in its first year.

"It is very well established that heavy taxation on tobacco and relentless reinforcement of the message that tobacco is unhealthy has had a very good effect. It is time now we adopted a similar approach with sugar."

"It is, of course, more difficult with sugar because whilst people can live entirely without tobacco, they can't live entirely without sugar - but humans can live without added sugars."

Last month, Prime Minister David Cameron opposed the introduction of a sugar tax in the UK and stressed there are "more effective ways of tackling" obesity.

Wilson added that the IDF's recommendations are part of an ongoing campaign, but as yet there is no sign that the G20 will address sugar taxation at this weekend's meeting.
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