Lahore: The Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) and Association for Gender Awareness & Human Empowerment (AGAHE) jointly held a media session at a local hotel in Lahore yesterday on the health harms of Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) and need forincreasing tax/surcharge.
In this regard, Sana Ullah Ghumman, General Secretary of Pakistan Nationa Heart Association (Panah), said that (PANAH) has been educating the people about heart disease for the last 37 years. Organizes conferences, workshops, seminars and walks with civil society, political and media representatives. PANAH provides health awareness to the general public, and identifies factors that are harmful to health, including Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) .The daily and frequent use of which is leading us to fatal diseases like heart, obesity, diabetes, liver and kidney diseases and some types of cancer.
According to Prof. Dr. Abdul Basit, General Secretary Diabetic Association of Pakistansaid that diabetes is growing exponentially in Pakistan. He mentioned that according to the International Diabetes Federation, Pakistan has been ranked fourth in diabetes. As per National Diabetes Survey, every 4th Pakistani has diabetes. Increasing tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) is an evidence based effective strategy to reduce its consumption and increase possible revenue for the country.
Munawar Hussain, Consultant Food Policy Program, Global Health Advocacy said Non communicable diseases are on the rise in Pakistan and are contributing to nearly 58% of the total mortality in the country. Excess sugar consumption is one of the major causes of obesity and its related NCDs. Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) are a significant source of intake of added sugar increasing risk of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, liver and kidney damage, heart disease, and some types of cancers. The evidence suggests that a decrease in the consumption of SSBs can reduce overweight and obesity and related NCDs. Imposing taxes on SSBs is an evidence-based, cost effective strategy to reduce its consumption, related NCDs and possibly increase in the revenue for the country.He said that consumption of sugary drinks on a daily basis increases the risk of weight gain by 27% in adults and 55% in children.
Dr Shinawar Waseem Ali Chairman Department of Food Sciences University of Punjab said that 50 countries have already imposed tax to discourage the consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) .He said that in order to prevent NCD, the consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) should be reduced. He thanked the participants and speakers for making the session a success.
On this occasion, the participants of the media session said that it is the responsibility of the state to make healthy decisions for the protection of the health of the people, to implement a strategy to promote the consumption of products that endanger the health of the people, and to implement the Health Levy Bill. To reduce diseases and increase revenue.