Lifestyle

Is it time to tax sugary treats?

Based on US estimates, consuming one can of soft drink per day could lead to a 6.75 kg weight gain in one year.
Based on US estimates, consuming one can of soft drink per day could lead to a 6.75 kg weight gain in one year. Linden Morris

SUGAR in drinks is public enemy number one for three of the country's leading health organisations, with good reason, but not all agree that it should be singled out for attention in the fight against obesity.

Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia have joined forces for the first time to call for action by governments, schools and non-government organisations targeting sugary drinks, which is one of the key contributors to obesity.

One measure they have called for is a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to encourage consumers to reduce their intake.

However a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia believes we need to look at the broader causes of obesity rather than just focusing on sugary drinks.

"We support tighter regulation on the marketing of foods generally that don't have a whole lot of nutrition," DAA spokesperson Margaret Hays said.

"And we're not convinced that making certain foods (sugary drinks) more expensive necessarily means that people will stop buying it.

"Obesity is a complex problem and one thing to consider is that everything comes in a bigger package these days. Portion sizes in general have increased.

"So my number one message is eat less and drink less, full stop."

The three health organisations pointed to a 2007 study which found almost half (47%) of children aged two to 16 consuming sugar-sweetened beverages (including energy drinks) daily, with a quarter (25%) consuming sugary soft drinks daily.

Another recent study by Cancer Council and Heart Foundation found that one in five secondary schools in Australia had vending machines - 49% of which contained sports drinks, and 38% soft drinks.

The organisations have launched a TV campaign called Rethink Sugary Drink.

Other recommendations include a call for a social marketing campaign to highlight the health impacts of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, restrictions by governments to reduce children's exposure to marketing of sugary drinks through schools and sporting events and an investigation to reduce points of sale of such drinks to children.

A 600ml bottle of soft drink can contain up to 16 teaspoons or packets of sugar, according to leading health organisations.
A 600ml bottle of soft drink can contain up to 16 teaspoons or packets of sugar, according to leading health organisations. Contributed

SWEET FACTS

  • A 600ml sugar-sweetened soft drink contains about 16 packs/teaspoons of sugar.
  • Based on US estimates, consuming one can of soft drink per day could lead to a 6.75 kg weight gain in one year.
  • In the 12 months to October 2012, Australians bought 1.28 billion litres of carbonated/still drinks with sugar, with regular cola drinks being the most popular (447 million litres).

Do you avoid sugary drinks?

This poll ended on 25 January 2013.

Yes - 60%

No - 39%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  health, obesity, sugar, tax, weight




Join the Community.

Get your local news, your way.

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

What Gympie wants from the Budget

Gympie civic leaders' Budget wishlist

Stirling takes big step forward

BIG TIME: Karen and Peter Bazzan from Stirling Homes were recently awarded a category 3 building licence from the QBCC.

Gympie's Stirling Homes awarding new license

UPDATE: Community goes above and beyond after roses stolen

The plaque on the back of the chair donated to the Helping Julie fund, which built a fence to stop Julie Jones' sentimental roses from being stolen from her front yard.

Volunteers set out to protect Julie's roses, gave so much more

Latest deals and offers

Hendra

Carol Backhouse from Backhouse train is advocting the Hendra virus vaccine after a...

Golf

Golf Pennents team win Virginia Reid, Kate Sawrey, Keryn Jessen, Karen Mills, Carol...

Rattler

Mayor Mick Curran and councillor James Cochrane and Garry Davison with some good...

Gympie trumps Fraser Coast in new housing developments

The scorecard is out - Gympie has come up trumps compared to Wide Bay in terms of new housing development.

Gympie trumps Fraser Coast in new housing developments

Demand for acreage lots pushes up property prices

Property values in Cooroy have increased 25%

Property values jump in Cooroy and Peachester.

How a sacked real estate agent made $725k in four months

Agent is now under investigation by the industry watchdog