ISLAMABAD - Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) on Wednesday urged the government to increase taxes on sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) to protect children from negative impacts of sugary drinks causing serious non-communicable diseases.

In an awareness session on the harms of SSBs, organized by PANAH and hosted by General Secretary, PANAH, Sana Ullah Ghumman, he said media was one of the best and most effective means of raising awareness about deadly diseases.

Ghumman said around 80 percent of deaths were caused due to

non-communicable diseases which included heart ailments, diabetes, cancer and respiratory diseases, said a news release.

“The purpose of today’s session is to raise awareness on the growing risks of diseases. One of the major causes of these diseases is the consumption of sugary drinks, the effective prevention of which is an increase in taxes”, he said.

Consultant Food Policy Programme  and Global Health Advocacy Incubators, Munawar Hussain said excessive consumption of sugary drinks has become a major cause of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), one of which was diabetes.                                “Diabetes kills 1,100 people a day. In two years, the number of diabetics in Pakistan is increased by 15 million. There are currently 33 million people with diabetes in Pakistan and the annual expenditure on diabetes in Pakistan is increased to US $2,640 million in 2021.”

National Consultant Ministry of Health Khawaja Masood said the growing number of NCDs in Pakistan has become a major challenge for the health of the people.                                             “Diseases cost billions of rupees annually, which is a huge threat to our economy. Choosing a healthy diet can help significantly reduce disease and mortality.”

Civil society representatives said sugary drinks were not a sign of health. “NCDs are a major cause of deaths, which is detrimental to public health. We should ban them immediately, especially to protect our children and young people from the negative effects of sugary drinks. More than 50 countries increase sweet drink tax”.

The government should immediately increase the tax on sugary drinks to curb their consumption. And ban the use of SSBs in educational institutions, he remarked.

 

Almost  80pc  deaths are related to  non-communicable diseases

including heart ailments, diabetes and cancer