HANOI — Vietnamese people eat too much sugar and it is harming their health, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
While the WHO recommends consuming less than 25 grams of sugar per day, Vietnamese eat an average 46.5 grams daily.
The data was revealed at a workshop to release WHO recommendations on controlling sugar-sweetened beverage consumption to prevent and control non-communicable diseases, held by the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health in Hanoi last Friday.
An unbalanced diet of excessive sugar and salt combined with insufficient vegetable consumption and a lack of physical activity is posing health risks to Vietnamese people, especially non-communicable diseases, said Truong Dinh Dac, deputy head of the department.
According to the WHO, the consumption of sugary drinks is increasing, especially in developing countries. Sugary beverages are produced on an industrial scale with a variety of products and are loved by children. Sugar drinks can make people feel better, eat more delicious and eat more, especially the baked goods, fried.
However, many reports suggest that sugary drinks will overload energy leading to fat accumulation, metabolic disorders; Increased risk of non-communicable diseases such as overweight – obesity, hypertension and osteoporosis.
Truong Tuyet Mai, Deputy Director of the National Institute of Nutrition, said Vietnamese people consumed about 5 billion litres of sugary beverages annually.
The figure is estimated to reach more than 5 billion litres in 2018 and 11 billion litres in 2025.
In Vietnam, the prevalence of overweight people and obesity is rapidly increasing.
The ratio of overweight and obesity in adults accounts for about 25 percent of the population. The rate of obese children under 5 has increased rapidly from 0.6 per cent in 2000 to 5.3 percent in 2015.
In addition, according to the survey of the National Hospital of Endocrinology, from 2002 to 2012, the rate of people with diabetes doubled from 2.7 to 5.4 percent.
Sugary drinks are the main source of sugar in the diet, and consumption is increasing in most countries, especially in children, WHO said.
The WHO recommends a reduced intake of free sugars.
In both adults and children, the WHO recommends reducing the intake of free sugars to less than 10 per cent of total energy intake.
Jun Nakagawa, deputy head of WHO’s office in Vietnam, said that to effectively reduce excessive consumption of sugar and prevent obesity and diabetes, Vietnam should raise taxes on sugary beverages, an effective way to reduce sugar consumption.
It was important to restrict the promotion of sugary beverages, raise awareness about the harmful effects and alter the habit of consuming too many sugar-sweetened drinks, he said.
At the workshop, participants also shared experiences of some countries in the control of sugary drinks as well as using financial tools in order to reduce sugar consumption in Vietnam.