Offer free water to cut consumption of sweet drinks

It is a given that obesity among the young is set to worsen ("Rising obesity among young set to worsen diabetes rate"; Monday).

But there could be a simple answer to help ameliorate the situation.

The consumption of sweet drinks has been replacing the intake of plain water for this generation.

Why? Our society has made it so.

Eating out is the norm. Paying for tap water or warm water in restaurants, foodcourts and eateries is also the norm.

So, the thinking goes: "Why pay for something that costs so little, such as water? Let's top it up and go for something that is deemed to have more value for money."

I really hope that we can learn something from South Korean and Japanese societies.

In their foodcourts and small eateries, there is always a dispenser for hot and cold water that patrons can help themselves to, for free.

So, there is less incentive to go for sugary drinks when there is something healthier that is free.

For a start, foodcourts should set aside some space for the free supply of hot and cold water for patrons.

Customers can then decide if they still want to consume sugary drinks.

Karen Chan Foong Meng (Madam)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2016, with the headline 'Offer free water to cut consumption of sweet drinks'. Print Edition | Subscribe