Evidence on dental caries key to sugar reduction, says WHO DG

21 May 2014

In a wide-ranging address to the Sixty-seventh World Health Assembly (WHA), WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, pinpointed WHO’s use of its authority “to alert the world to the need to reduce daily sugar consumption, based on evidence of the association with dental caries and obesity.”

Dr Chan was referring to the recent WHO Draft Guideline: Sugars intake for adults and children, which proposes that sugars should be less than 10% of total energy intake per day. It further suggests that a reduction to below 5% of total energy intake per day would have additional benefits.*

“Highly processed foods and beverages loaded with sugar are ubiquitous, convenient, and cheap,” cautioned Dr Chan.

The WHO Draft Guideline was submitted to simultaneous public consultation and peer-review by an external expert group through March 2014. It is now being finalized and reviewed by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee for final clearance prior to its official release.

Dr Chan’s address, entitled ‘Health has an obligatory place on any post-2015 agenda’, took place on 19 May at the WHA official opening in the United Nations building in Geneva. She also sounded an alarm on noncommunicable diseases and the key role of prevention.

“For health, the previous century largely relied on the technology-driven medical model to combat communicable diseases. With NCDs now the biggest killers worldwide, this century must be an era where prevention receives at least as much priority as cure,” stressed Dr Chan.

‘Health has an obligatory place on any post-2015 agenda’, WHO DG Dr Margaret Chan. (video)

‘Health has an obligatory place on any post-2015 agenda’, WHO DG Dr Margaret Chan.
(text)

*Note:
WHO’s current recommendation, from 2002, is that sugars should make up less than 10% of total energy intake per day. Five per cent of total energy intake is equivalent to around 25 grams (around 6 teaspoons) of sugar per day for an adult of normal Body Mass Index (BMI).

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