The U.N. health agency on Tuesday recommended that countries use tax policy to increase the price of sugary drinks like sodas, sport drinks and even 100-percent fruit juices as a way to fight obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.

Sugary drinks have been linked to weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes – and they also encourage tooth decay. Government guidelines call for limiting the consumption of beverages and foods with added sugar, and the American Heart Associated recommends having no more than three cans of soda per week.

The World Health Organization, in a statement timed for World Obesity Day, said that the prevalence of obesity worldwide more than doubled between 1980 and 2014, when nearly 40 percent of people globally were overweight.

Drawing on lessons from campaigns to fight tobacco, WHO says taxing sugary drinks could help reduce consumption of sugars, bringing health benefits and more income for governments.

In a 36-page report on fiscal policy and diet, WHO also cited “strong evidence” that subsidies to reduced prices for fresh fruits and vegetables can help improve diets. It said that tax policies that lead to a 20-percent increase in the retail prices of sugary drinks would result in a proportional reduction in consumption.

According to the report, teenagers and young adults are the biggest consumers. Seventy percent to males between two and 19 years of age have a sugary drink on a daily basis, along with 60 percent of their female counterparts. Fifty-five percent of older men drink sugary beverages daily, along with 40 percent of older women.

The findings show that higher income is associated with lower consumption of sugary drinks. It also futher says  that blacks drink more sugary drinks than any other race on earth. Among non-Hispanic black children and adolescents, sugary drinks account for 8.5 percent of total calories consumed. That compares to 7.7 percent of young whites’ daily calories and 7.4 percent of young Asians. Among people age 20 and older, sugary drinks account for 8.6 percent of daily calories in blacks, 8.2 percent in  Americans, and 5.3 percent in whites.


Overall, boys and men consume an average of 175 calories from sugary drinks on any given day, while girls and women consume 94 calories