Sugar taxation and other interventions overlooked in draft UN political declaration on NCDs

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Sugar taxation and other interventions overlooked in draft UN political declaration on NCDs

The United Nations is headquartered in New York City, where political declaration on NCDs will be discussed on 27 September. (Photograph: UN Photo/Manuel Elias)
FDI World Dental Federation

By FDI World Dental Federation

Thu. 30. August 2018

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NEW YORK, U.S.: Heads of States will convene in New York on 27 September for the third United Nations High-level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases (UN HLM on NCDs) to review progress against addressing the burden of NCDs and adopt a Political Declaration. The NCD community has overwhelmingly voiced its disappointment in the generic and broad language of the draft declaration, which lacks sufficient accountability and financing commitments, and fails to mention oral disease and other NCDs.

Among its many weaknesses, the draft declaration omits the World Health Organization “best buys” and several other WHO-recommended interventions related to sugar, tobacco and alcohol taxation. For example, taxation on sugar-sweetened beverages is a proven mechanism for reducing sugar consumption (especially among low-income households) and can contribute to reducing the NCD burden. The 2015 WHO Fiscal Policies for Diet and Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases even proposes sugar taxation as one of the main fiscal policy interventions for NCD prevention.

Sugar is a common risk factor for major NCDs, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes, and is the leading risk factor for dental caries. Dental caries is the most widespread NCD, affecting almost 100 per cent of the world’s population during their lifetimes. It is widely acknowledged that oral disease and other NCDs share modifiable risk factors, including an unhealthy diet—particularly one high in sugar.

Surging levels of global sugar consumption represent a significant oral health and NCD challenge. Without targeted investment in widespread preventative interventions, the burden of oral disease and other NCDs will continue to accelerate unabated.

At the FDI World Dental Congress in Buenos Aires, FDI is hosting a joint session with the NCD Alliance and WHO titled “Curbing the sugar rush: Tackling oral diseases and other NCDs through a unified approach”. The session will feature a panel of health experts who will discuss cross-cutting interventions to reduce sugar consumption. Speakers include Dr Verónica Schoj, director of NCD prevention and control at the Argentine Ministry of Health; Katie Dain, CEO of the NCD Alliance; Dr Benoit Varenne, WHO oral health programme officer; Dr Stefan Listl, FDI Vision 2020 Think Tank member; and Martha Yaneth Sandoval Salazar, policy officer at Educar Consumidores.

FDI is inviting all World Dental Congress attendees to join the session taking place on 7 September from 9:00 to 11:00 in the General Assembly Room.

FDI Ndc Ndcs Noncommunicable Diseases Sugar Tax United Nations World Dental Congress

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