Diabetes now an 'epidemic' due to unhealthy diets
Global Business

Diabetes is a major global health threat and the number of cases are rapidly increasing. In Asia, diabetes has already proven to be an epidemic owing to unhealthy diets.

A report from King's College London estimated that the global cost of diabetes would reach 2.5 trillion U.S. dollars by 2030, double from the 1.3 trillion U.S. dollars in 2017. The world's diabetic population is estimated to be 642 million by 2040.

The report also found that the large economic burden isn't limited to high-income countries, but is widely dispersed throughout the world.

Data from the International Diabetes Federation shows that China had the largest diabetic population of over 20 million people until 2017. India and Indonesia followed with 10 to 20 million diabetic patients.

A study by insurance company Sun Life showed that the Philippines is so far the most worrying country in the region, with five out of 100 being diagnosed with diabetes. In 2017, around 50,000 Filipinos died because of diabetes-related complications such as kidney or heart failure and stroke.

Sun Life's report also stated that only three out of ten people surveyed are willing to change their diets to support a family member with diabetes. And Thailand, which currently has the second highest rate of diabetes in the region, is encouraging making less sugary beverages by introducing new taxes.

Thailand's new taxes ask soft drink makers to reduce the amount of sugar in their beverages. The country's Excise Department says that taxes on sugary drinks began to double from October 1, with drinks containing 10 to 14 grams of sugar being taxed at 1 baht per 100 milliliters instead of 0.5 baht per 100 milliliters.

The taxes are staggered over a four-year period, while carbonated drinks are the initial targets. Sweetened fruit juices, teas and coffees will follow in the coming years.