Campaign against excessively sugary drinks enters next phase

Health ministry says sugar can be ‘hidden’ in beverages under different names

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drinking a glass of refreshing cold fizzy cola drink

Dubai

The Ministry of Health and Prevention has launched the third phase of its awareness campaign about the health risks associated with drinking sugar-sweetened beverages.

The campaign, called ‘Your Health Comes First’, will run till January under the slogan “Beat the habit … Fight extra sugar”.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are consumed in large quantities because of their availability and the marketing behind their sales.

The aim of the campaign is twofold: to raise awareness about the amounts of sugar in sweetened beverages, and the chronic diseases associated with consuming large amounts of sugar. Various media outlets are being used to spread the campaign’s messages on TV, radio, outdoor hoarding, as well as social media to establish interactive platforms and reach various segments of the society. The campaign includes also games on its social media accounts to shed light on the facts about sugar-sweetened beverages.

Dr Fadila Mohammad Sherif, director of the ministry’s health education and promotion department, said the ministry pays great attention to the topic of health awareness. The drive highlights the health risks associated with overconsumption of sugar in order to promote the health of the members of the society and prevent obesity and its associated health problems.

The campaign is part of a national initiative that aims to promote a healthy lifestyle, and is in line with the UAE Vision 2021 of achieving world-class health care and providing universal health coverage.

Nouf Khamis, deputy manager of the health education and promotion department, explained that excessive amounts of added sugar affect daily caloric intake and may result in weight gain and other related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. He said: “In this campaign, we aim to correct misconceptions about sweetened beverages, for example, they are free of added sugar, clarify that sugar can be hidden in many beverages with different names. In addition, we hope through this campaign to reduce the consumption of sugar among individuals in order to adhere to the recommendations.”

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