The Health News Hong Kong May 7 2018

The health authority is considering a new sugar tax and increase its alcohol duty “if all else fails” to reduce deaths from non-communicable diseases. Diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease are the top causes of death in Hong Kong. In 2016 , the diseases accounted for about 55% of all deaths, and took away about 104, 600 years of life from the population.

According to the Hong Kong health authority, the autonomous territory might consider a new sugar tax and increase its alcohol duty “if all else fails” to reduce deaths from non-communicable diseases. This was recently unveiled as its strategy for the next seven years. Cancer and cardiovascular disease which are classified as non-communicable diseases are the top causes of death in Hong Kong.  In two thousand sixteen, the diseases accounted for about fifty five percent of all deaths, and took away about one hundred four thousand six hundred years of life from the population.

Director of Health Doctor Constance Chan Hon-yee said the situation is unprecedented. Chan also stated that Hong Kong was adopting an “incremental approach” to reduce burden of those diseases, instead of following World Health Organization guidelines that call for a sugar tax and further alcohol and tobacco duties.

Looking ahead to two thousand twenty five, the Department of Health plans to focus on four diseases – cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes – and four behaviours that contribute to those diseases – unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking and too much alcohol. The strategy was developed along with the Food and Health Bureau.  Cancer still remains as Hong Kong’s number one killer, which accounted for thirty percent of all deaths in two thousand sixteen, followed by heart disease at fifteen percent.

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