The UAE plans to introduce a ban on supersized fizzy drinks in a bid to reduce the country’s chronic obesity problem, the government says.
Several measures designed to promote healthier living were agreed during a ‘brain-storming’ session attended by the UAE cabinet, according to the state news agency WAM.
The measures include “limiting the size of fizzy drinks, imposing controls on [the] advertisement of unhealthy foods and showing calories of food items”, according to a statement.
No further details were given as to when the ban on large sodas would be imposed or a likely maximum size for drinks containers.
Such a ban would follow a similar proposal made in New York City by the outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Bloomberg, who will leave office in January, proposed a ban on the sale of sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces. The initiative has faced legal challenges, however, and the ban is yet to be enforced.
The UAE ‘cabinet retreat’ examined thousands of proposals, including many related to health.
“The health of our citizens cannot be measured by any cost and treatment anywhere is a vested right for them,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in a statement.
The UAE ranks as the fifth fattest nation in the world, according to a 2012 study published by a BMC Public Health journal. According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 745,000 people have diabetes in the UAE.
Other UAE health initiatives announced this week include an early cancer-detection program, a national database for medical records, and the implementation of common standards for healthy food in government and private schools.
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