Portugal has been told to clean-up its act in no uncertain terms by the World Health Organisation. “It needs to make an effort in the area of tobacco consumption, obesity, child obesity and all problems associated with eating and nutrition – like excessive consumption of salt, sugar and fats, and also in relation to the promotion of exercise,” said WHO director Zsuzsanna Jakab, presenting her organisation’s health plan for 2020.
In response, Portugal’s minister of health Paulo Macedo said the way forwards nationally is centred on prevention.
Closing the door on new taxes, the man who looks very much like he should be taking health-tips from Ms Jakab said: “We do not think taxing new foods would bring positive immediate consequences.”
And he revealed that despite all the taxes loaded this far on cigarettes and alcohol, the government is not getting the results it would like “due to the phenomena of fiscal fraud and contraband.
“The best way to reduce illness is through healthy eating habits,” he agreed. “The challenge is how to transmit this message”.
Meantime, Portugal is forging ahead with its new national health plan to reduce school-age obesity and increase life expectancy across the board.
Newspapers report that one of the plan’s aims is to increase life expectancy in over-65s by as much as 30%.