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Sugar Tax on Drinks May Reduce Obesity: Study

Update Date: Aug 20, 2014 05:14 PM EDT
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Sugar tax on sugar sweetened beverages may help reduce obesity, suggests a new study. 

Researchers measured the effect of a 20 percent tax on sugar sweetened beverages (SSBs) on the prevalence of obesity among adults in South Africa. They found that taxing SSBs could impact the burden of obesity in South Africa, particularly in young adults. 

"It is the responsibility of the government to protect the health of its population. One way of doing so is through "nudging" people to make healthier and more sustainable choices. An SSB tax has the potential to do this in addressing obesity-related diseases," said author Mercy Manyema, in the press release.

According to various reports, South Africans have become more obese over the last 30 years. It is also considered one of the most obese country in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than 50 percent of the country's adults are now overweight and obese. 

"While SSBs alone may not be the only reason for an increase in body fat, these fizzy drinks do not contain any essential nutrients, have a high sugar content and a strong link to weight gain. Drinking just one SSB a day increases the likelihood of being overweight by 27% for adults and 55% for children," said Professor Karen Hofman, senior author of the paper and Director of PRICELESS-SA.

The study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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