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New Recommendation From WHO Could Reduce Obesity

The United Nations health agency has released a statement recommending that countries use harsher tax policies on sugary drinks in order to increase the price and deter people from buying them.

Sugary drinks would include sodas, sports drinks, and even some fruit juices. The idea is this tax will increase the costs of these drinks, which in turn will reduce obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

The World Health Organization released a 36-page report, citing 'strong evidence' that a tax policy to increase the retail price of sugary drinks by 20% would result in a reduction in consumption.

"Consumption of free sugars, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of people suffering from obesity and diabetes," says Dr. Douglas Bettcher, who heads WHO's department for preventing non-communicable diseases. "If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives."

Though the information in the report is from last May, the connection between increased taxes and reduced consumption has only recently emerged.

WHO is still in discussions with companies that produce sugary drinks to increase taxes on these products in an effort to reduce sugar consumption.

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