The Health Ministry will launch a campaign to educate people to reduce their sugar consumption, specifically sweetened beverages.
Dr Ngy Mean Heng, director of the Phnom Penh health department, said yesterday that the ministry has in the past advised people about the ill effects of consuming too many sweet beverages, but this is the first time it is carrying out a large-scale campaign.
“This is the first campaign that we are organising and we are cooperating with the City Hall,” he said. “We plan to start the campaign on Friday and it will run for a month.”
Dr Mean Heng said the campaign will not involve outdoor public addresses, but will instead be carried out through a series of seven workshops.
“We will invite the heads and vice-heads of all schools, both public and private, in the capital and also district officials to attend the workshops,” he said. “We want to teach them that drinking too many sweet beverages can lead to diabetes, obesity and heart attacks.”
Dr Mean Heng noted that most Cambodians are not aware of how to prevent diabetes and that is why the ministry and health department are working hard to disseminate information to them.
The Municipal Welfare Secretariat last week posted advisories on its Facebook page to inform the public about the ill effects of drinking too many sweetened beverages, including the risk of diabetes, tooth decay, obesity and heart attacks.
It said that if they drink 330ml of sweetened beverage, they have to walk about three kilometres in order to burn off the 135 calories contained in the drink.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Mam Bun Heng attended the Ministerial Conference on Diabetes in Singapore.
The conference was held to discuss, share experiences and set highly effective strategies to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases, especially diabetes, in the wake of a World Health Organisation report that 70 percent of deaths and disability worldwide are caused by such diseases.
A Health Ministry statement said that the conference also aimed to increase cooperation among health ministries worldwide to reduce the incidence of diabetes.
WHO has estimated that in 2030, diabetes will become the seventh major cause of death in the world.
At present, the disease affects about 425 million people worldwide, including in Cambodia. In 2015, there were more than 230,000 cases of diabetes in the Kingdom.
Cambodia’s recorded rate of diabetes is lower than its Southeast Asian neighbours, but the prevalence of the disease among those aged between 20 and 30 is higher in Cambodia than it is in the Western Pacific region and the rest of the world, according to the International Diabetes Federation – Western Pacific.