CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

Sugar-sweetened Beverages Increase High BP Risk Among Children, Adolescents — Expert

A public health consultant in the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, Oyo State,  Dr. Francis Fagbule, has declared that sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), commonly known as soft drinks, as major contributors to the increase in the risk of high blood pressure (HBP) among children and adolescents in Nigeria.

Fagbule disclosed this on Monday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, while presenting a paper during a journalism training on ‘Effective SSBs Tax and Industry Monitoring’, which was organised by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).

He stated that there has been a significant increase in high blood pressure in Nigeria in the last two decades, pointing out that while there was five per cent increase in the urban areas, rural areas recorded two per cent increase.

In her welcome address, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health,  Dr. Adaeze Oreh, said non-communicable diseases, including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, have become a public health concern globally and across Nigeria.

Oreh, who was represented by the Director of Public Health and Disease Control in the Rivers State Ministry of Health,  Dr. Ifeoma Nwadiuto, stated that non-communicable diseases accounts to 30 per cent of deaths annually in the country.

She said: “Non-communicable diseases including diabetes and cardiovascular diseases have become a public health concern globally and across the nation. A staggering rate of 41 million people are lost to NCDs deaths annually, and NCD deaths in Nigeria accounts for 30% of annual deaths.

“With this data, it is therefore paramount to address the root causes of these preventable illnesses. NCDs are known to result from long-term effects of unhealthy lifestyle and diets, leading to disability adjusted lifestyle years (DALYs).

“Sugar-sweetened beverages or carbonated drinks, also known as soft drinks, are non-alcoholic beverages that contain excessive amount of sugar. The sugar in these drinks is absorbed by the blood stream thereby causing a spike in the blood sugar level, which is a risk factor for numerous health problems including obesity and other NCDs.”

In her keynote speech, the acting executive secretary, Rivers State Contributory Health Protection Program (RIVCHPP),  Dr. Vetty Agala, said 30 per cent of deaths in the country will drop if something is done about sugar-sweetened beverages.

Source: Leadership

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