Home Lifestyle Health Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Increase NCDs Among Humans, Says experts

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Increase NCDs Among Humans, Says experts

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Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Increase NCDs Among Humans, Says experts

By Katherine Abayomi, Port Harcourt

In a two-day training organised by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) for journalists in Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital to expose the health implications of the continued consumption of Sugar-sweetened beverages stated that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), commonly known as soft drinks, are major contributors to the increase in the risk of high blood pressure (HBP) among children, adolescents and even adults in Nigeria.

The training has exposed Nigeria to be the fourth largest consumer of SSBs (soft drinks) globally with over 11 million Nigerians currently living with diabetes. This shows a looming health epidemic if not addressed promptly, its adverse effects on human lives, and revenue loss cannot be over-emphasised.

In his welcome address, the Executive Director of CAPPA Akinbode Oluwafemi stated that close to 30% of the population of Nigeria dies annually as a result of Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are birthed by continuous consumption of sugar sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) also known as “soft drinks” which has resulted to high rates of hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases.

“As a watchdog, we should use a unique platform and responsibility to shed light on critical issues facing our society and promote public health policy interventions implementations of an excise on sugar-sweetened beverages is a step in the right direction aimed at reducing the NCD’S. The rising trend of media to assist in exposing these regulatory loopholes, of SSB companies and advocate for policies should prioritize public health over corporate profit.

Akinbode further stated that manufacturers of these SSB products have continuously used lack of content disclosure, deceptive Marketing, non-existence of front-of-pack labeling, and false nutrition benefits to deceive consumers, damage their health, and sustain profit. With the $10 per liter tax on all sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and its implementation in June 2022 it has yielded little or no result to the consumer of those products from the consumption and it falls short of the global recommendation of at least a 20% increase in the final retail price of SSBS.

A public health scientist Francis Fagbule disclosed while presenting a paper during the journalism training on ‘Effective SSBs Tax and Industry Monitoring’, stated that there has been a significant increase in high blood pressure in Nigeria in the last two decades, pointing out that while there was a five percent increase in the urban areas, rural areas recorded two percent increase.

“The NCD, burden either impact on health problems as measured by morbidity, prevalence incidence, financial cost years of life lost (YLL), Years lived with disability (YLD), and Disability-Adjusted life years (DALYs). These NCDs have a relationship with obesity, cancer, and oral disease (Tooth decay and Gum diseases), the economic burden can also not be left out. He emphasised that the government, policymakers, NGOs health professionals, media professionals, and leaders should play a role in saving lives.

In her welcome address, Honourable Commissioner for Health Rivers State Dr Adaeze Oreh Represented by Dr Ifeoma Nwadiuto, stated that 11 million people are lost to NCD deaths annually and 30% of the annual deaths in Nigeria can be attributed to it. “These SSBs, when taken cause a spike in the blood sugar level, which is a risk factor for numerous health problems including obesity and other NCDs. The Nigerian government is applying the tax method on SSBs as the best method for fighting this scourge as well as her global counterparts and it should be welcomed with both hands.

The keynote speaker the acting executive secretary, of Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Program (RIVCHPP), Dr. Vetty Agala noted that 30 percent of deaths in the country will drop if something is done about sugar-sweetened beverages while stating the importance of health.

Journalists were urged to take public enlightenment and policy advocacy seriously and should become champions for the cause of healthy food policies and foster societal well-being.

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