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Diabetes Prevention: A New Soda Dispute in GroKo

11/22/2019

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Diabetes in Germany is considered to be a widespread disease – with an estimated annual medical cost of around seven billion euros. GroKo wants to prevent a further increase in the number of people affected by the prevention strategy – if there is consensus. But as far as the topic of sugar in beverages is concerned, the Union and the SPD are violently arguing.

True common disease. The number of diabetic patients in Germany is estimated at ten million. Insured persons over the age of 35 are entitled to check every three years. Only those who detect the disease early can also be treated early.

In their coalition agreement, the Union and the STD intend to present a National Diabetes Strategy during this legislative period. More prevention and early detection, more research and better care offers are the most important goals.

To the surprise of many observers, Union and SPD health politicians have worked incredibly quietly on many projects. When it comes to behind-the-scenes diabetes, there is a heated argument. The stumbling block is the text of a Bundestag petition from coalition factions on a planned disease strategy.

It is a reduction in sugar in foods and beverages, consumed especially by children and adolescents. According to unanimous expert opinion, a predominantly unhealthy diet or obesity is one of the factors favoring type 2 diabetes, with a lack of exercise.

The SPD is furious with the Union, which wants to delete two paragraphs from the proposal. "Sugar-sweetened beverages are consumed especially by children and adolescents," according to information from the Network Editorial Board of Germany (RND). "As health insurance requires, the goal here should be a 50% reduction in sugar."

"Setting the Right Path"

SPD parliamentary group deputy chairman Bärbel Bas urges the Union to resign. "With healthy foods, we can avoid many cases of type 2 diabetes. So we have to use that potential and set the right path," Bas told RND.

Coalition faction health politicians have developed a strategy to fight diabetes. "We now hear from the Union that, especially, baby food demands are being resisted," Bas said. "Obviously parts of the Union prefer to rely on medication monitoring as well as prevention of good nutrition – contrary to all scientific knowledge."

Bass insists on effectively limiting the sugar content of sugary drinks and baby foods. This is the "irreplaceable building block" of the national diabetes plan: "Voluntary agreements with the food industry are not enough."

By Rasmus Buchsteiner / RND