A review of studies by the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO) featuring sugar-sweetened beverages concluded that consumption does contribute to the development of obesity.
Thirty new studies - conducted between 2013 and 2015 - have been included in the meta-analysis, none of which were industry backed.
“The evidence base linking SSBs with obesity and overweight in children and adults has grown substantially in the past 3 years,” said Dr Nathalie Farpour-Lambert. She said that they were able to review 10 studies per year, with a total of 244,651 participants.
“This new, more recent evidence suggests that SSB consumption is positively associated with obesity in children. By combining the already published evidence with this new research, we conclude something that in many ways should already be obvious: public health policies should aim to reduce the consumption of SSBs and encourage healthy alternative such as water,” Dr Farpour-Lambert explained.
They did, however, acknowledge that a direct cause and effect was impossible to prove, as there may be other factors such as diet and lifestyle choices.
She added that some countries have limited or non-existent policies on SSBs consumption limitation.
“There is no doubt that we can reduce the consumption and impact of SSBs, but we need both the political will and the cooperation of the beverages industry to achieve it,” Dr Farpour-Lambert said.
In the Philippines, a newly-passed tax reform law slapped levy on SSBs.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has lauded the country for being the first country in Asia to pass a tax reform law which taxes sugar-sweetened beverage by Php 5.00 to 10.00 per litre.
The Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Act's inclusion of the SSB tax will help fund health promotion programmes and curb obesity cases in the country.
Currently, three in 10 Filipinos are considered obese, according to the National Nutrition Council (NNC).