89 Views no discussions Share Sharing is caring! Tweet Share HealthInternationalLifestyleNewsPrintRegional PAHO lauds Mexico’s soda tax as a model measure to fight diabetes by: Jamaica Observer – April 8, 2016 Share (Jamaica Observer) MEXICO CITY — Mexico has set an example for other countries by becoming the first country in the Americas to increase taxes on soft drinks and other sugary beverages to reduce consumption, said Carissa F Etienne, director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), at an event yesterday marking World Health Day, which focuses on diabetes.Measures such as increased taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks, regulations on advertising unhealthy foods to children, and food labelling to warn of excess salt, sugar or fat are among measures recommended by this year’s World Health Day campaign to promote healthy diets for diabetes prevention.“Mexico has shown global leadership by increasing taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, which managed to reduce soda consumption by six per cent in just one year. This is one component of a comprehensive national strategy adopted by Mexico to fight obesity, overweight and diabetes,” said Etienne. “It is a great start, and other countries of our region, including Barbados and my country, Dominica, have replicated this intervention. As such, I invite the rest of the countries of our region to establish taxes on sugary beverages following Mexico’s successful example.”Etienne’s call to action is part of the global campaign for this year’s World Health Day, whose slogan is “Step up. Beat diabetes.” The campaign seeks to raise awareness of the importance of stepping up prevention and control of diabetes, which is the eighth-leading cause of death globally, the fourth-leading cause in the Americas, and the leading cause of death in Mexico.In the Americas, the number of people with diabetes has tripled over the past three decades, from 18 million in 1980 to some 62 million, about eight per cent of the population, by 2014. This increase has paralleled rising rates of overweight and obesity, a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes in the region. If current trends continue, PAHO estimates that the number of people with diabetes in the Americas will exceed 100 million by 2040.“Diabetes affects people from all walks of life but especially people in vulnerable situations: those with economic limitations, without access to health care, and with fewer opportunities for healthy living,” said Etienne. “We are, without a doubt, facing an epidemic that has devastating effects on the quality of life of those affected as well as on their families, health systems and countries’ economies.”The PAHO director’s remarks came at the opening of a two-day meeting of international experts on diabetes, organised by PAHO and Mexico’s Ministry of Health. Secretary of Health José Narro was also on hand to help launch the World Health Day campaign in the Americas.Narro pointed out that more than 90,000 Mexicans died of diabetes in 2015, accounting for one out of every seven deaths. “This subject is a top priority for us and deserves a comprehensive strategy,” he said.Etienne, meanwhile, congratulated Narro and the Government of Mexico for showing their commitment to “policies and actions that facilitate healthy lifestyles”.