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Sugar tax, labels reduce sugar consumption: study

An Ontario study suggests that prominent nutrition labels and taxes on sugary products can help consumers opt for healthier options. The years-long study from researchers at the University of Waterloo looked at the buying behaviour of more than 3,500 people when it came to drinks and snacks. It found that a 20 per cent tax on high-sugar products led to participants buying food and drinks with 20 per cent less sugar and 20 per cent fewer calories. The study comes as the federal health minister said on Tuesday that Ottawa would not place a tax on sugary drinks. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor said such a tax wasn't a priority but that the government would focus on the issue of "front-of-pack labelling." Health Canada is proposing mandatory labelling on the front of food and drinks In particular, the agency is looking at what's known as "high in" labelling — as in "high in sugar," or "high in sodium," which would feature prominently on the product. The ideas are part of the government's work to tackle a growing weight problem in the country. Being overweight or obese is one of the top preventable risk factors for many chronic diseases including, Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. David Hammond, a public health professor and lead author of the study, said prominent labelling and taxes on such products are key measures that are needed.
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