A Coca-Cola poster about the city's new beverage ban is displayed at a pizza shop, Friday, March 8, 2013, at New York's Penn Station. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
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The Trump administration has torpedoed a plan to recommend higher taxes on sugary drinks, forcing a World Health Organization panel to back off the U.N. agency's previous call for such taxes as a way to fight obesity, diabetes and other life-threatening conditions.The revelations came Friday as a WHO panel on non-communicable diseases issued a report that aimed to cut down on diseases like diabetes, cancer and obesity, which kill about 40 million people each year.Dr. Sania Nishtar, co-chair of panel, said most of its 26 members supported a tax on sugar sweetened beverages but one commissioner -- whom she did not identify -- hampered drafting stronger language.Eric Hargan, the U.S. deputy secretary for Health and Human Services, reported he was that member, arguing it was not clear that imposing taxes on sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices would improve public health -- even though WHO has argued exactly that over the last two years.WHO often convenes expert panels to ultimately set its own policies and to make tricky public health decisions.Instead of explicitly recommending a sugar tax, the WHO commission said Friday that countries themselves should decide if they want higher taxes on sugary drinks.
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