Increase in taxes on sugary drinks required

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Islamabad: The Pakistan National Heart Association (PANAH) organized a march in front of the National Press Club Islamabad to raise awareness of the diseases caused by the increasing consumption of sugary drinks and to appeal to the Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahbaz Sharif, Minister of Finance Miftah Ismail and cabinet members to raise taxes on sugary drinks.

The march led by PANAH Secretary General Sanaullah Ghumman was attended by consultant for global health advocacy incubator, Food Policy Program Munawar Hussain. Prominent journalist Afzal Butt and former Mayor of Luton, London Mohammad Ashraf, in addition to students from educational institutions including Allied School System and Ayesha Lasani School System.

The Deputy Director of Women Development Welfare Center, Rawalpindi Yumna Mir, teachers, political representatives Samina Shoaib, Rohi Hashmi, PANAH members Tanveer Nusrat, Professor Rashid Sadhu and a large number of journalists were also present in the march. March participants held banners and signs listing the dangers of sugary drinks.

Addressing the participants of the march, Sanaullah Ghumman said our priority was healthy food. Sugary drinks are useless. The increasing use of sugary drinks in educational institutions, parties and public places is making us sick. Today, a large number of our children, adults, men and women are suffering from life-threatening diseases like heart disease, obesity, cancer and diabetes and the problem needs to be addressed immediately.

Munawwar Hussain said the consumption of sugary drinks is one of the main causes of non-communicable diseases. Diabetes cases increase by 14 million in two years. Today, Pakistan ranks third in the world for the incidence of diabetes. Obesity is considered a major cause of many fatal diseases including heart disease and one of the main causes of all these diseases is the excessive consumption of sugary drinks.

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