A Professor of Public Health and Nutrition at the Fred Binka School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, UHAS, Professor Francis Zotor, has called on Ghanaians to reduce the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.
He said research has shown that these sugary beverages are associated with dental caries, obesity, diabetes, stroke and many other non-communicable diseases.
Professor Zotor said this in an interview with the GNA during a float dubbed: “Say No to Sugar Sweetened Beverages,” a campaign aimed at raising awareness on the health dangers of consuming these products.
The float was organised as part of the activities of the Advocating For Health Project by Prof Francis Zotor in collaboration with the Volta-Oti-Eastern Zone of the Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the Department of Family and Community Health and the Department of Nutrition and Dietetic of UHAS.
The Lecturer lamented that these products were on display everywhere including shops, schools, churches, markets around banks and in hospitals, and they were killing the populace slowly and silently.
He said children also consumed these products on a daily basis, putting their future and that of the country at high risk, thus there was the need for drastic and pragmatic mechanisms to deal with the situation.
The Lecturer said there is an increase in non-communicable diseases and that has implications for the next generation, the reason it is important to wake up and make conscious efforts to address the challenges. He said Ghana cannot afford the epidemic proportions of the Non-Communicable Diseases levels as the health care system cannot take care of people who are sick, urging public health nutritionists to intensify the campaign to protect the health of the citizens.
The Vice President of the Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Percival Agordoh, said the government should consider putting heavy taxes on these products to make them expensive.
”People continuously consume these sugar sweetened beverages because they are not expensive, so putting taxes on them would increase their prices and that would deter people from consuming them in large quantities. Mr Agordoh said the campaign would be extended to producers of these products to appeal to them to reduce the sugar content to make the products safe for consumption”.
The Vice President called on the citizens to adhere to health safety protocols and heed to the call to avoid intake of sugar sweetened beverages to remain healthy and productive.