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Dhaka Tribune

Experts: Impose tax on foods with high-calorie to prevent fatty liver

At least 10 million people in Bangladesh are at risk of cirrhosis or liver cancer

Update : 08 Jun 2022, 10:34 PM

Experts have asked the government to impose tax on high-calorie food and beverage to reduce consumption of such foods as one out of three people in Bangladesh are suffering from fatty liver.

They said at least 10 million people are at risk of cirrhosis or liver cancer.

The experts also called for using legislation to ensure that the food industry improves the composition of processed foods like reducing trans and saturated fat, sugar, and salt content.

They made the recommendation at a seminar on Wednesday.

The experts also laid stress on promoting water consumption instead of soft drinks by making drinking water easily accessible to children and adults in public facilities including parks, playgrounds, schools, and worksites.

They also called for mandatory nutritional labeling, as well as labeling of calories on menus of fast-food restaurants.

Primary care practitioners should be educated on the high prevalence of fatty liver in the general population and the potential liver-related morbidities, emphasizing the importance of case finding for NASH in high-risk groups such as those that are overweight obese, and diabetic, they said.

The scientific seminar and awareness campaign was organized by the Hepatology Society at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital on Wednesday on the occasion of World Nash Day which falls on Thursday.

Liver experts at the seminar said fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis can be prevented only by changing the diet and lifestyle and losing weight.

Former health adviser to a caretaker government Major General Prof ASM Matiur Rahman attended the seminar as chief guest while ICDDR,B Executive Director Tahmid Ahmed attended it as a special guest with Hepatology Society President Professor Mobin Khan in the chair, said a press release.

Prof Ajay K Duseja, secretary of the Indian National Association for the Study of Liver, and Jeff Mclntyre, director of Global Liver Institute also joined the seminar through a virtual platform.

Speakers at the seminar said that deaths from liver diseases are being viewed as a serious public health problem worldwide.

According to the World Health Organization, liver disease accounts for 2.62% of all deaths in Bangladesh, particularly from liver cirrhosis and liver cancer.

One of the leading causes of liver cirrhosis and cancer is inflammation of the fat deposits in the liver, they said. In medical science, inflammation of the liver due to the accumulation of excess fat is called steatohepatitis.

The dangerous sequel of fatty liver disease is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, they said.

In the undiagnosed and uncontrolled situation, the fatty liver begins to move dangerously towards the state of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis.

In addition to causing inflammation in the liver, fat accumulation in the liver also affects it badly.

The disease is directly linked to heart disease, diabetes, and a decrease in the effectiveness of insulin hormones in the human body, said the physicians.

The prevalence of the disease is increasing at an alarming rate in Bangladesh as well as in the world.

On Thursday, like in other countries in the world, the fifth International Nash Day will be observed in Bangladesh.

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