BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The government of Barbados plans to impose a 10 per cent tax on sugary drinks despite widespread objection from the public.

Officials say the measure is aimed at reducing obesity and diabetes in the eastern Caribbean island. The tax is scheduled to go into effect on Aug. 1 and would apply to sodas, sweetened juices and sports drinks.

The government this week rejected accusations that it was only a measure to generate more revenue. Officials say two of every three Barbadian adults are overweight and that the government spends about $113 million a year to fight diabetes and high blood pressure.

The government said in a statement Thursday the tax would encourage residents to make healthier choices.