A call for a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages highlighted in CDA election priorities
OTTAWA, Sept. 1, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) today released its priorities for the federal election campaign, urging all parties to commit to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, and ensuring that all Canadians affected by diabetes have equitable access to high-quality care and services to optimally manage their disease.
Action on diabetes is particularly important as the disease has reached epidemic proportions: today, more than 10 million Canadians have diabetes or prediabetes. Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that causes 30 per cent of all strokes, 40 per cent of all heart attacks, 50 per cent of kidney failure requiring dialysis and 70 per cent of all lower limb non-traumatic amputations.
"We know that diabetes will cost our health-care system and economy $14 billion in 2015, and $17.5 billion annually by 2025," says Dr. Jan Hux, chief science officer at the CDA. "Canadians can't wait any longer. Unless we take action now, diabetes threatens not only more Canadians, but also the viability of our health-care system and our economic prosperity."
The CDA urges all federal parties to commit to the following priorities:
- A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages because of the clear connection between high consumption of these drinks and the development of type 2 diabetes. A single serving of soft drink (e.g. non diet pop) contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar. Countries such as Mexico, France, regions in the U.S. and Europe have applied taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages to deter consumption.
- Establishing a national pharmacare program so that people with diabetes can access the medications, devices and supplies they need to manage their disease. While one in 10 Canadians has difficulty paying for medications even if they have insurance, this rises to one in four for those without coverage. These costs are particularly onerous for people with diabetes: many have to choose between paying for medications and other essential daily expenses.
- Expanding the disability tax credit (DTC) to include all people with type 1 diabetes to provide financial relief for burdensome annual expenses. The inclusion of insulin as a life-sustaining therapy within the eligibility criteria for the DTC is intended to provide financial relief to insulin-dependent individuals. However, significant inequities exist in accessing the DTC and most adults with type 1 diabetes do not qualify for the DTC.
"Diabetes costs us all. No region or population in Canada is immune to the disease," says Dr. Hux. "We encourage Canadians to ask their federal candidates to commit to support a healthier Canada."
Learn more about how to get involved in the election campaign to take action on diabetes by visiting diabetes.ca/votediabetes.
About the CDA
The CDA is the registered national charity that helps the more than 10 million Canadians with diabetes or prediabetes live healthy lives, and educates those at risk. In communities across Canada, the CDA:
- offers a wide array of support services to members of the public;
- offers resources to health-care professionals on best practices to care for people with diabetes;
- advocates to governments, schools, workplaces and others on behalf of people with diabetes; and funds research on better treatments and to find a cure.
For more information, visit diabetes.ca or call 1-800-BANTING (226-8464).
Statements of support for a tax on sugar sweetened beverages
"Encouraging healthy lifestyle choices through the implementation of new policies to promote better health is the right approach. We support the taxation of sugar sweetened beverages, recognizing the link between excessive consumption and type 2 diabetes."
– Dr. Cindy Forbes, President, Canadian Medical Association
"A tax on sugary drinks can be an effective tool within a comprehensive approach to reduce sugary drink consumption and its associated conditions, such as heart disease and stroke."
– Manuel Arango, Director, Health Policy, Heart and Stroke Foundation
"The Childhood Obesity Foundation advocates for policy change that supports healthy eating and active living in environments where children live, learn and play and supports the introduction of a tax on sugar sweetened beverages. As such, we are pleased to support the Canadian Diabetes Association's position."
– Dr. Tom Warshawski, Chair, Childhood Obesity Foundation
"Research shows that sugary drinks are associated with poor diet and risk for chronic disease which is why members of the BC Healthy Living Alliance support a sugary drink tax. We believe the tax can be used to fund health-promoting programs and bring down excessive consumption as we've seen in Mexico. This small shift could make a measurable difference to the future health of Canadians."
– Scott McDonald, CEO, BC Lung Association & Chair, BC Healthy Living Alliance
SOURCE Canadian Diabetes Association
Video with caption: "Sugar is fuelling a health-care crisis in Canada. High consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages leads to type 2 diabetes and costs to the Canadian health-care system billions of dollars. Canada needs a tax on these beverages - #votediabetes.ca". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20150901_C5747_VIDEO_EN_488528.mp4&posterurl=http%3a%2f%2fphotos.newswire.ca%2fimages%2f20150901_C5747_PHOTO_EN_488528.jpg&order=1&jdd=20150901&cnum=C5747
Video with caption: "Canada is the only industrialized country with universal health coverage without national pharmacare. As a result, 57% of people with diabetes cannot afford to take all their medications.This election, we need to talk about pharmacare - #votediabetes". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20150901_C5747_VIDEO_EN_488554.mp4&posterurl=http%3a%2f%2fphotos.newswire.ca%2fimages%2f20150901_C5747_PHOTO_EN_488554.jpg&order=2&jdd=20150901&cnum=C5747
Video with caption: "Managing type 1 diabetes is a 24/7 responsibility. It costs families up to $7,000 per year. The disability tax credit (DTC) could help - but most adults with type 1 diabetes do not qualify. This election, we need to talk about fairness and the DTC - #votediabetes". Video available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/cgi-bin/playback.cgi?file=20150901_C5747_VIDEO_EN_488578.mp4&posterurl=http%3a%2f%2fphotos.newswire.ca%2fimages%2f20150901_C5747_PHOTO_EN_488578.jpg&order=3&jdd=20150901&cnum=C5747
For further information: For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact: Paul Kilbertus, Senior Manager Strategic Communications, Canadian Diabetes Association, Phone: 416-408-7083, Cell: 416-886-5187, Paul.Kilbertus@diabetes.ca