PM asked to make sugary drinks hard to buy

M. Waqar Bhatti
Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

A group of leading public health experts has warned that the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity in Pakistan is likely to double by 2025 if no action is taken immediately, urging Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to make sugary drinks hard to purchase by raising taxes on them.

“Pakistan faces a triple burden of malnutrition, wherein the population is still dealing with underweight, deficiency of micronutrients and overweight at the same time,” reads a letter addressed to the PM by the experts.

The letter, which was also sent to Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, has been emailed with signatures of 40 top public health experts, economists and epidemiologists from top universities and institutes of public health around the world.

Saying that sugary drink consumption is a cause of obesity and non-communicable diseases, the group based at the University of North Carolina, said that sweetened beverages often have no nutritional value, and hundreds of studies have shown how they completely add to the total caloric intake, adversely impacting health.

Consumption of sweetened beverages is also a risk factor for diet-related diseases such as type-2 diabetes, hypertension and most other major non-communicable forms of heart disease, as well as 13 of 15 major cancers, they warned.