MUMBAI: By introducing 20% extra excise duty on sweetened drinks, India could prevent four lakh people from getting diabetes and another 11 million from becoming obese over the next decade. This is the gist of a new study conducted by the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) along with Stanford University and published in 'PLOS Medicine' journal on Monday. "The incidence of obesity and diabetes is increasing across India, especially among women and children," said PHFI's Dr Sutapa Agarwal, co-author of the study. "One factor responsible for this is the easy access to soft drinks. Even kirana shops in rural India store sugar-sweetened beverages." Studies conducted in major metros such as Mumbai and Delhi show 65% to 70% of Indians are overweight or obese. Moreover, experts believe every third urban Indian has diabetes. The growing epidemic of diabesity â€” a combination of diabetes and obesity â€” has forced health economists across the world to work out strategies to control it. A study published in the 'British Medical Journal' last year showed a 20% tax on sweetened drinks would check diabesity among the 16-29 age group. The new study says extra excise duty, over and above the existing 30%, will lead to reduced consumption. Many experts believe higher taxation will be the best bet for countries such as India where consumers are price-conscious. "Just like taxes on cigarettes have been introduced to contain lung cancer and heart disease, taxes on beverages could contain diabetes," said Dr Anoop Misra, chairman, Fortis CDOC Hospital for Diabetes, New Delhi. The PLOS study was supported by the US-based National Institute of Aging. "We cannot expect the beverage companies to react to our concerns, so it's up to the government to act," said Agarwal, adding taxation will work more effectively in rural India than urban India. But Dr Shashank Joshi, endocrinologist from Lilavati Hospital in Bandra, said legislation is only a part of obesity management. "Such measures have been advised in other countries as well, but they don't address the core issue of prevention of obesity," he said. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg had sought to ban giant cola cups, but failed. Dr Joshi, however, agrees higher taxation will act as a disincentive for the younger population, especially children. "Behaviour control would, however, have a better effect," he said. "We've to spread the message that one has to eat less and walk more. Have fruits instead of fruit juices. Viewing less TV is as important as reducing carb drink." Extra excise duty on soft drinks can help fight obesity, diabetes: Study - The Times of India I feel 20% in India will not make much of difference. Along with extra taxes Cola producing companies need give a statutory warning on bottles/Cans.