Title: Israeli Government Cancels Soft-Drink Tax Amidst Health Concerns
In a controversial move, the Netanyahu government has recently cancelled the soft-drink tax in Israel, succumbing to pressure from ultra-Orthodox (haredi) parties. This decision has left health experts dismayed, as a new study conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has revealed a concerning link between sugar-sweetened and artificially sweetened beverages and the incidence of chronic liver disease and liver cancer.
The study, titled “Sugar-Sweetened and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and Risk of Liver Cancer and Chronic Liver Disease Mortality,” was published in the prestigious medical journal JAMA. It involved tracking nearly 100,000 postmenopausal women over a span of more than 20 years. The results were alarming.
Women who consumed one or more sugar-sweetened beverages daily faced an 85% higher risk of developing liver cancer and a 68% higher risk of mortality due to chronic liver disease, compared to those who consumed fewer sugary drinks. These findings are particularly worrisome, considering that the government’s decision raises concerns about neglecting the prevention of serious diseases among older women.
Despite the Israeli Health Ministry’s efforts to promote the drinking of water, supermarkets catering to the haredi population continue to stock a wide variety of soft drinks. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that 65% of American adults, as well as many Israeli adults, persist in consuming harmful beverages like colas on a daily basis.
The study’s authors have emphasized the need for further research to validate the risk association and understand the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the increased risk of liver cancer and chronic liver disease. However, they believe that these findings could play a crucial role in shaping future public-health strategies aimed at reducing the risk of liver disease.
As public awareness on the potential dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages grows, it is essential for governments and health organizations to prioritize the wellbeing of their citizens. This latest study serves as a reminder that the link between excessive consumption of sugary drinks and detrimental health outcomes cannot be ignored.
In a time where health concerns are at the forefront, the cancellation of the soft-drink tax raises concerns about the Israeli government’s commitment to ensuring the public’s well-being. Moving forward, it is crucial for both policymakers and the general public to consider the implications of this decision and advocate for healthier alternatives to safeguard the community’s health.