By Aderogba George

The National Action on Sugar Reduction (NASR), a coalition, has called for increase in tax on Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSBs) in order to reduce the burden of obesity.

Omei Bongos-Ikwue, a representative of the NASR, made the call during a rally on Saturday in Abuja to commemorate the 2024 World Obesity Day celebrated annually on March 4.

According to him, statistics has shown that one in eight people worldwide grapples with obesity.

He said that the alarming statistic had also revealed that 30 per cent of Nigerians were overweight and that 15 per cent of such figures were classified as obese.

Bongos-Ikwue said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had also underscored the global scale of the obesity crisis, with more than 1 billion people affected worldwide.

He said that the disease was majorly attributed to excessive calorie intake, and that obesity posed a significant threat to health.

According to him, SSBs emerged as the primary source of added sugar in diets and has been scientifically linked to abdominal obesity.

“SSBs are identified as a key driver of cardiometabolic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.

“This rally featured an extensive awareness campaign, engaging choreography by volunteers, games, and informative factsheets aimed at enlightening the public.

“We urge the government to implement higher taxes on sugary drinks.

“The goal of this pro-health tax is to protect more Nigerians from the risks of obesity; alleviate the burden on the healthcare system, and promote a healthier society,” Bongos-Ikwue said..

(NAN)

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