Study finds UK sugar tax could save thousands from obesity, diabetes

admin   •   December 16, 2016   •   3934

Soft drinks bottles are displayed on a shelf in a shop in London in this file photograph dated April 24, 2013. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett/files

 

A planned levy on sugary drinks due to be introduced in Britain in April 2018 could significantly reduce the number of people who become obese and develop diabetes and tooth decay, scientists said on Thursday.

In a study on the levy’s health impacts, researchers found the positive effect would be greatest if the drinks industry responds by reformulating products to cut sugar content, rather than keep the same formulations but raise prices to consumers.

The planned levy is tiered, starting from no tax on diet and low sugar drinks, a low tax on mid-sugar drinks containing 5 to 8 grams (g) of sugar per 100 millilitres (ml), and a high tax on very sugary drinks containing 8g or more per 100 ml.

The government’s health department says sugary drinks are the single biggest source of sugar for children, who can have more than their recommended daily intake just by drinking a can of cola, which has nine teaspoons of sugar.

The scientists studied three possible reactions by companies to the levy. They could reformulate drinks to reduce sugar content, pass some of the levy to consumers by raising the price of sugary drinks, or use marketing to encourage consumers to switch to lower sugar drinks.

The Lancet Public Health journal published the results.

For each scenario, the researchers mapped a realistic better and worse case scenario for health by estimating the likely impact on rates of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

“The good news is that our study suggests that all of the most likely industry responses … have the potential to improve health,” said Adam Briggs of Oxford University, who led the study. “The extent of the health benefits of the tax will depend on industry’s response.”

In opting for a sugar tax, Britain joins Belgium, France, Hungary and Mexico, all of which have imposed some form of tax on drinks with added sugar. Scandinavian countries have levied similar taxes for many years.

According to the study’s modeling, a 30 percent reduction in sugar content of all high-sugar drinks and a 15 percent reduction in mid-sugar drinks could result in 14,400 fewer adults and children with obesity, 19,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes a year, and 26,900 fewer decaying teeth annually.

Passing on half of the cost of the levy to consumers with a price rise for high and mid-sugar drinks of up to 20 percent could reduce the number of adults and children with obesity by 81,600, result in 10,800 fewer diabetes cases and 14,900 fewer decaying teeth a year.

Speaking to reporters at a briefing in London, Briggs and his team said the most likely real-life response from industry would probably involve a combination of the scenarios in the study, which might mean the benefits could increase.

“The direction of the effect is clear,” said Susan Jebb, an Oxford professor who co-led the research. “This levy will have a positive impact, especially on children’s health.” — Reuters

Bello clarifies ‘nurses-for-vax’ issue; says UK asks exemption from PH deployment cap on nurses

Marje Pelayo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III cannot put in detail yet the response of the British government on the conditions the Philippine government has offered to allow the deployment of more Filipino health workers to the United Kingdom.

But Bello has high hopes that the negotiations will yield positive results for the benefit of overseas Filipino workers.

“Positive naman ang reaction ng Ambassador. Sabi niya, I can go back to his principal and he will come to me after 10 days which he did. Bumalik siya noong February 24 at meron siyang sulat,” Bello explained.

“Kaya lang hindi pa ko at liberty na i-public ang content ng sulat because I will first submit it to the President,” he added.

Secretary Bello said it was the UK government who requested not to include them in the Philippines’ list of countries with deployment caps for health workers.

The said deployment cap allows only 5,000 Filipino health workers to go abroad each year.

Bello clarified on the matter after a group of nurses expressed disappointment over reports of alleged ‘nurses-for-vaccine’ in which DOLE appeared to be bargaining Filipino nurses for COVID-19 vaccine supply from the UK.

“Nasaktan kami and we think na hindi yun tama dahil ang mga nurses ay matagal nang nagsasakripisyo at tumutulong sa pandemyang ito pero hindi magandang pakinggan na parang kami ay barter commodity na kapalit noong bakuna,” said Jocelyn Andamo, secretary general of Filipino Nurses United.

Bello explained that the UK is sixth among countries in the world with the fastest infection rate for COVID-19. 

He said they just want to make sure that the nurse will be protected first before they are deployed to the UK.

“Gusto ko bago sila ma-deploy ay naka-vaccine na sila para ligtas sila,” Bello noted.

“Hindi ko sinabing bigyan nyo ako ng vaccine tapos kapalit ng nurses,” he stressed.

The FNU opposes the deployment cap saying the country has enough nurses.

In fact, the group said, there are about 800,000 to 900,000 registered nurses in the country. 

Over 250,000 of them are deployed in different countries; over 220,000 works outside of the field of medicine; and only about 90,000 are practicing their profession.

“Ang shortage ng nurses sa tingin namin ito ay acute or even false shortage because we have enough nurses in the Philippines,” Adamo argued.

“Hindi lang sila maximized, tapped or encouraged to work in that nursing profession or maglingkod within the healthcare system dahil nga sa sobrang kababaan ng sahod at hindi magandang work conditions,” she added.

It can be recalled that the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 imposed a deployment cap on nurses to ensure that the country has enough number in case the COVID-19 situation worsens in the country.

Bello confirmed that aside from the UK, about 50,000 nurses are also needed in Germany though there is no negotiation yet between Berlin and Manila on the matter. MNP (with input from Rey Pelayo)

UK declines PH offer to deploy more Filipino nurses in exchange for vaccines

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The United Kingdom (UK) government has declined the offer of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to deploy more nurses to the UK in exchange for vaccines.

UK Ambassador to the Philippines Daniel Pruce said the recruitment of nurses and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines are two separate issues.

“We’ve got no plans to link vaccines with those conversations around the recruitment of nurses. You know those two strands of conversation I think continue but as I’ve said again we have no plans to link those two issues,” he said during a virtual conference.

DOLE Silvestre Bello III proposed forming an agreement with the UK to lift the deployment cap of healthcare workers, provided the UK would allocate vaccines for them. Bello also made the same proposal with Germany.

DOLE Information and Publication Service (IPS) Director Rolly Francia clarified the proposal was to make sure the nurses are safe when deployed abroad and not for the country to have additional supply of COVID-19 vaccines. This was after the proposal drew ire for making nurses look like ‘commodities’ to be exchanged for vaccines.

“What Secretary Bello wants is to ensure that the nurse gets vaccinated if ever the request for an exemption in the cap would be granted by the President,” Francia said.

Nevertheless, Ambassador Pruce said he will meet with Bello in the coming weeks to further discuss the issue. AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

POLO-OWWA London warns Filipinos against recruitment scam

Marje Pelayo   •   January 4, 2021

LONDON, United Kingdom — The Philippine Overseas Labor Office (POLO) – Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) in London warned Filipino jobseekers against fake entities posing as recruitment agencies supposedly authorized by the agency.

In a statement, POLO – London said they have received a report against a certain company named Cornerstone Employment Agency (CEA) Ltd, that has been offering partnerships with Philippine recruitment agencies to recruit Filipino workers for jobs in the UK.  

The dubious agency has been using an email address that resembles the official email address of POLO, and presenting documents with fake verification stamps and forged signatures to make them appear legitimate.

POLO clarified that it “has never emailed any document to CEA nor has it sent any document to that agency.”

Applicants who were recruited by CEA also reported that they were asked to pay a fee of $800 USD for the processing of a work visa.

POLO stressed that the activity is definitely a recruitment scam and advised the public to stop any dealings with the said agency. MNP / Raymund David

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