WATERCOOLER: Should we have a sugar tax to tackle diabetes?

THE first World Health Organisation's (WHO) inaugural global report on diabetes has been released and there's no sugar coating these stats.

The report has found the number of adults living with diabetes has almost quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults in 2014.

The only Australian contributor to the report, Professor Stephen Colagiuri, from the University of Sydney, told the ABC we need to seriously look at implementing a sugar tax to tackle the epidemic.

"A sugar tax will clearly not be the only solution to the problem, but there has never been a successful public health intervention which has not involved some form of legislation and regulation, and leaving the changes to be made on a voluntary basis simply doesn't work," he said.

Professor Colagiuri, a leading expert in diabetes screening and prevention said a sugar tax was just one way the Australian Government could tackle the problem.

"Whether you look at cigarette consumption, whether you look at road safety ... we do need to actually try and create the environment that's required in order to help people to make the changes that are required in order to prevent weight gain and in turn prevent the development of diabetes."

Diabetes together with higher-than-optimal blood glucose caused 3.7 million deaths globally in 2014.

Professor Colagiuri said Australia was average in the number of people with diabetes and average in the increasing rates of diabetes.

"And we're fairly high up on the list of countries with regard to overweight and obesity, which is a major driver of diabetes," he said.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS? WOULD YOU SUPPORT A TAX ON SUGAR?

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What you're saying on Facebook:

Trish Hecht: "If we don't do something to stop the increase of chronic diseases our hospitals will be bankrupt very soon. Not sure if a sugar tax is the answer but we have to do something very soon."

Taran Saunders: "Yes, people dont realise that the tax isnt on them, its on the manufacturers to reduce the sugar content. Most companies have to keep on increasing sugar content to keep people addicted to the drink and compete the other companies. Drinks still generally taste the same whether the have 10% sugar or 5% sugar."

Alistair Edwin: "I knew they would start this debate once cigarette sales started to decline. If you haven't realised that the government will tax and tax and tax us all to death yet, you are an Idiot it won't stop with sugar it will move on to wheat or one of a million other things they will say is bad for us. This is not about helping people loose weight or "oh won't somebody think of the children" this is about revenue raising because the government has become addicted to easy cash from over taxation. How do you think they afford the mp's massive pay increases every year?"

Lisa Raphael: "When will we stop having a Nanny State and become responsible for the decisions on diet etc we make...so no no tax on sugar...maybe in health and phys ed at school they can cover those sort of health issues ...."

Simone Chappell: "Because it's just sugar that causes diabetes not also alcohol , processed foods and an inactive lifestyle."

Nicole Valerie Otago: "Obesity and people who cannot look after themselves clog up the hospitals as much if not more so than smokers . Tax ...does not phase those who eat properly."

Riaan Gouws: "Make fresh fruit and vegetables cheaper then people can afford to buy fresh instead of processed high sugar content foods."



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