WHO urges countries to raise taxes on sugary drinks

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GENEVA — The U.N. health agency is recommending that countries use tax policy to increase the price of sugary drinks like soft drinks, sport drinks and even 100-percent fruit juices as way to fight obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

The World Health Organization, in a statement timed for World Obesity Day, says the prevalence of obesity worldwide more than doubled between 1980 and 2014, when nearly 40 percent people globally were overweight.

Drawing on lessons from campaigns to fight tobacco, WHO says taxing sugary drinks could help reduce consumption of sugars, bringing health benefits and more income for governments.

In a 36-page report on fiscal policy and diet released Tuesday, WHO also cited “strong evidence” that subsidies to reduced prices for fresh fruits and vegetables can help improve diets.

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