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

Recommended Reading




Stay Connected

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

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care

Your kids will love childcare, but it may take some adjusting.

GETTING your child ready for day care is vital.

MUMS' TOP 5: 'Musts' to have on your childcare checklist

SOME FALL SHORT: Organisations that train childcare workers will be subjected to extra audits.

SENDING your child off to day care can be daunting and confusing.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Joyce slams Grafton Hospital cuts claim: ‘It’s a load of BS’

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce reacts as he visits Macadamia Processing Cooperative with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull near Ballina in the seat of Page, Friday, June 17, 2016. Jobs will again be the focus as Malcolm Turnbull heads to the NSW north coast, but this time with a $25 million pledge. The coalition hopes the $25 million investment will give businesses incentives to invest and help boost employment in the region. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

Deputy PM's frustration at wild campaign assertions

Distance dictates cancer survival rates in regional areas

Analysis shows how big gap is for accessing treatment

Grafton assault-accused addicted to ‘ice’

Grafton Courthouse Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Charge matters had all the "hallmarks of an ice-related incident"

Latest deals and offers

Vivid timelapse

Screenshot from timelapse of Sydney's Vivid Festival

This timelapse shows Sydney's Vivid Festival

Nationals announce $10m for truck washes

The National party brought state and federal representatives to announce a joint...

Bowen Therapy

No Caption

An introduction to the Bowen technique.

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?