Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 8 December 2019

Making it more expensive to eat junk food would be a deterrent

Our readers have their say about taxing sugary products and skydiving

The 'sin tax' on sugary drinks, alcohol, tobacco and other products is a step in the right direction, but more can be done. Ravindranath K / The National
The 'sin tax' on sugary drinks, alcohol, tobacco and other products is a step in the right direction, but more can be done. Ravindranath K / The National

I write to you in reference to Anam Rizvi’s article UAE tax on sugary drinks ‘shows signs of success’ (August 26).

In its 2018 report, the World Health Organisation stated that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) – including cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases – kill 41 million people every year.

It is therefore good to hear that the UAE government has imposed taxes on specific products, including sugary drinks. However, there are some recommendations that can be useful to policymakers in the country.

Firstly, sugar is not the only – or the actual – cause of NCDs. For instance, health authorities in Singapore have identified white rice to be the primary cause of diabetes in their country – rather than plain sugar.

There is a need for the UAE government to carry out studies on UAE-specific diets, which include the intake of sugar. Undertaking such focused studies will help identify the national health problems which will, in turn, help the authorities to arrive at appropriate solutions.

Secondly, any nutrition-oriented solution is incomplete without efforts towards educating the public.

Authorities should also introduce incentives to encourage the purchase of healthier food options.

An increase in prices of certain unhealthy products could be supplemented by a decrease in prices of healthy alternatives.

Finally, targeting only one group of food, such as sugary beverages, does not guarantee to resolve national health issues. When it comes to consumption, junk food provides tough competition to every other option out there, so perhaps a tax on junk food could be considered.

Jawaher Al Mheiri, Dubai

How young is too young to let your child go skydiving?

In reference to Selina Denman’s article As Skydive Dubai opens to young children: would you let your 12-year-old go skydiving? (September 7): I’d happily let my three-year-old do it.

Paul Benjamin, Dubai

I think people are more likely to die in a car accident than skydiving. You should let pre-teenagers experience something as epic as skydiving.

Jeremy Young, Abu Dhabi

UFC fight gave us a spectacular show that will never be forgotten

I write to you in reference to Daniel Sanderson’s article UFC 242: Dustin Poirier gives tearful press conference after loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in Abu Dhabi (September 8): too bad, Dustin Poirier fought a very good fight but he was no match for Khabib Nurmagomedov on the ring.

Tarek Naghaway, Amman

Updated: September 9, 2019 06:47 PM

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