The UN health agency on Tuesday urged countries to start taxing sugary beverages as they fight against an obesity epidemic, pointing to evidence that price hikes can dramatically reduce consumption. The World Health Organisation’s recommendations on sweetened beverages came as the world seeks to bring down whopping obesity rates, with one in three adults overweight.
“There is reasonable and increasing evidence that appropriately designed taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages would result in proportional reductions in consumption, especially if aimed at raising the retail price by 20 percent or more,” WHO concluded in a new report.
In other words, a 20 percent price hike leads to a cut in consumption by 20 percent, while a 50 percent hike cuts consumption in half, the agency explained. “If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives,” insisted Douglas Bettcher, who heads WHO’s prevention of non-communicable disease department. Read more