The UN wants countries to tax sugary drinks to reduce consumption that leads to overweight, diabetes and other health problems.

The UN wants countries to tax sugary drinks to reduce consumption that leads to overweight, diabetes and other health problems.
Photo Credit: Seth Perlman/AP Photo

Canadians drink sugary drinks, suffer health consequences

Canadians would back a tax on sugary drinks if the proceeds were used to fund health initiatives, according to public opinion research. The World Health Organization (WHO) today said countries should use tax policy to increase the price of sodas, sports drinks and all fruit juices in an effort to stem obesity, heart disease, diabetes and tooth decay.

Canadians drink almost 100 litres per year

“Canadians consume close to 100 litres of sugary drinks annually. That’s a big problem,” says Manuel Arango, director of health policy and advocacy at the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. The average can of soft drink sold in Canada contains 355mls and almost as much sugar as the daily limit.

Canadians are consuming less pop and more of the other sugary drinks like vitamin water, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit juice. Some people mistakenly believe that fruit juice is a healthier alternative.

Many Canadians think fruit juice is a healthy drink but it can have more sugar that soft drinks and almost no nutritional value.
Many Canadians think fruit juice is a healthy drink but it can have more sugar that soft drinks and almost no nutritional value. © CBC

‘Fruit juice is nothing more than sugar water’

“What we know and what we’re learning is that fruit juice is nothing more than sugar water. It has very little nutritional value and, in fact, often fruit juices have up to 33 per cent more sugar than pop,” says Arango. A major problem is that sugar absorbed from liquids does not affect our feeling of being full, or satiety, so it is easy to over consume.

“We know that sugary drink consumption is highly related to obesity and overweight. And in Canada, we know that we are the fifth most obese, overweight country in the world,” he adds.


Canadian government considers a tax

A comprehensive approach to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks is favoured by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. It would like to see changes in the marketing, availability and price of sugary drinks. Arango says the price of milk has gone up almost 75 per cent in the last 20 years, while the price of pop has only increased only 25 per cent.

The foundation would like to see a tax on sugary drinks with the money raised being spent on health initiatives. Arango says a majority of Canadians would support this. The Canadian government is considering taxing the drinks.

Mexico has already done so, and others like the Philippines, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland intend to do so.

‘Reduce suffering, save lives’

Today is World Obesity Day. The World Health Organization says the prevalence of obesity in the world more than doubled in the years between 1980 and 2014. By then, nearly 40 per cent of people around the world were overweight.

A WHO officials says the consumption of free sugars, including sugary drinks is a major factor in the global increase of obesity and diabetes. Says Dr. Douglas Bettcher in a news release, “If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives. They can also cut healthcare costs and increase revenue to invest in health services.”

Categories: Health, Society
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *