Sunday, 14 February 2016

Awareness must be raised about the evils of excessive consumption of sugary food items: IMA

Awareness must be raised about the evils of excessive consumption of sugary food items: IMA

New Delhi, February 13, 2016: Tactics employed by the tobacco industry in developed nations are being transferred over to the soda industry, according to the report ‘Carbonating the World’ released by the CSPI, in trying to replace a diminishing consumer base for sugar drinks in the USA by targeting developing countries. There are major links between these sugary drinks and junk food and tooth decay, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, amongst others.
Speaking about the awards, Dr. SS Agarwal, National President IMA & Padma Shri Awardee Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, President, Heart Care Foundation of India and Honorary Secretary General IMA said, “After the WHO’s World Health Assembly adopted a set of global recommendations in 2010 to reduce marketing of non alcoholic beverages and foods high in sugars, salt, or fat for children, it now needs to push countries to implement the recommendations and implement actual standards.
Public health efforts should be the highest in countries where consumption of these products is already elevated. Anything consumed in moderate quantities is not harmful, however excess can lead to lifestyle diseases in the long term and awareness generation in this regard is crucial.”

IMA recommends that countries must:

  • Make nutrition improvement a priority, and work towards inter-ministerial coordination for priority area including curtailing the sale of sugary foods. 
  • Undertake large scale, well funded mass-media campaigns around diets focused around children, parents, and healthcare providers to discourage sugary foods consumption
  • Barring advertisement and sale of these products to children (and other unhealthy foods) in school settings, including on the Internet, television, signanges, and other mobile and print media.
  • Place tax (excise) on sugary foods which would lead to increase prices of at least 10-20%. These revenues could be used towards education and media campaigns, in addition to promote healthy diets.

Separate guidelines for restaurants, civil society organizations, and beverage companies are also strongly encouraged, dealing with this in a preventive approach to curtail the burgeoning rise of chronic diseases.

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