SYDNEY, July 9 (Xinhua) -- Medical experts on Monday called on the Australian government to impose a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs).
In an article for the Medical Journal of Australia, authors Alessandro Demaio from the University of Melbourne and Alexandra Jones from the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, pointed to an increase in obesity rates as an indication that the tax is necessary.
"Two-thirds of adults and one-quarter of Australian children are overweight or obese," they said.
"At age 2-5 years, 8.8 percent of children in 2014-2015 were obese, compared with 4.2 percent two decades earlier."
Australia's major supermarkets offer a selection of sugary drinks for less than 50 U.S. cents per liter, which according to authors takes its greatest toll on "low socio-economic, rural and indigenous populations."
The article pointed the cost of healthcare, which is expected to rise with an increase in obesity-related chronic conditions.
"It is time the price of SSBs at the register more accurately reflected the true cost of their consumption on Australia's health and economy," they wrote.
There are 30 countries around the world and seven cities in the United States that have now adopted a tax on SSBs.