Vietnamese’s sugar intake almost doubles recommended level hinh anh 1The workshop on June 22 announces the WHO's recommendations for controlling sugar-sweetened beverages to prevent non-communicable diseases (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Each Vietnamese currently consumes about 46.5 grammes of free sugar every day, which is close to the maximum daily intake of 50 grammes and almost doubles the recommended daily intake of under 25 grammes.

The information was revealed at a workshop in Hanoi on June 22 that announced the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s recommendations for controlling sugar-sweetened beverages to prevent non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Deputy Director of the Health Ministry’s Department of Preventive Medicine Truong Dinh Bac said an unbalanced diet with much salt, sugar-containing products and saturated-fat and little vegetables and fruits, along with a lack of physical activities are risk factors of NCDs. Notably, the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is growing, especially in developing countries, he said.

In Vietnam, overweight and obesity rates are increasing rapidly, he noted, elaborating that about 25 percent of the adults are overweight or obese. The rate of obese children under five years old soared from 0.6 percent 2000 to 5.3 percent in 2015.

According to the National Hospital of Endocrinology, the rate of persons with diabetes doubled from 2.7 percent in 2002 to 5.4 percent in 2012. The lifelong care for and treatment of these patients will be a burden on the economy.

At the workshop, a WHO representative said sugar-sweetened beverages are the main source of sugar in meals, and the consumption of these drinks has been on the rise on almost all nations and, especially, among children. If a child drink a can or bottle of sugar-sweetened beverages in one day, his or her intake of free sugars has been much beyond the recommended level as one can of soft drink usually contains about 36 grammes of free sugar.

The WHO recommended that the intake of free sugar, including monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods, or sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices should account for not higher than 10 percent of each person’s diet and be reduced to 5 percent of the daily calories, equivalent to about 25 grammes of free sugar or six teaspoons.

The WHO urged countries to boost communications to raise public awareness of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and control the advertising of these products, especially at schools. They also need to encourage producers to put health warning labels on sugar containing products and hike tax on these products to raise budget revenue and limit abuse.-VNA