The Philippines could avert 24,000 premature deaths linked to diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart failure in the next two decades after it adopted taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
The taxes levied this year could cut consumption and avoid nearly 6,000 deaths related to diabetes, 8,000 from stroke and more than 10,000 from heart diseases over 20 years, a WHO research study showed.
The taxes, part of a series of reforms aimed at helping to fund infrastructure, could yield healthcare savings of about $627 million and annual revenue of $813 million, they added.
The high consumption of colas was the main driver of obesity, swelling the burden of non-communicable diseases, the WHO said.
The WHO has backed taxation as a way of curbing rising obesity if retail prices rise 10 per cent to 20 per cent to cut consumption.
In 2013, 31 per cent of the total Philippine adult population of 56.3 million was overweight, the agency said, with the proportion of overweight youth nearly doubling to 8.3 per cent from close to 5 per cent within just a decade.
(With inputs from agencies.)