Weighing in on sugary drink tax

Lucy Collison and Bella Watling show the amount of sugar contained in a large frozen drink.
Lucy Collison and Bella Watling show the amount of sugar contained in a large frozen drink.

 

BALLOONING waistlines around the nation have sparked a push to ban advertising junk food and sugary drinks to children.

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The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is also calling for the introduction of a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to help tackle obesity.

The most recent national health report card reveals 22.4 percent of children aged two to 17 in Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest and Bulahdelah are overweight or obese, slightly below the national average of 25.8 percent.

The National Health Tracker, released by Australian Health Policy Collaboration, also shows that two in three adults in the Myall Coast region are overweight.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said eating habits and attitudes toward food are established in early childhood.

“If we can establish healthy habits from the start, it is much more likely that they will continue throughout adolescence and into adulthood,” he said.

But for children looking for ways to keep cool this summer, frozen sugary drinks are certainly a tempting option.

The Australian Beverages Council claim that slapping a small tax onto the cheap drinks will do little to deter children from consuming them.

Eight-year-old Lucy Collison said frozen drinks can be purchased locally for a little over a dollar.

“They are great on a hot day, but we only have them every now and then,” she said.

Young people may be surprised to know that hiding in their large, syrupy frozen treat are as many as 21 teaspoons of sugar, more than three times the recommended daily intake.

While indulging in a frozen beverage as an occasional treat certainly isn’t a problem, health experts warn there is a link between regularly consuming sugary drinks and being overweight.

This can lead to a myriad of chronic health problems including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Dr Gannon said improving the nutrition and eating habits of Australians must become a priority for all levels of Government.

 

Lucy Collison and Bella Watling said they enjoy a frozen drink as an occasional treat.
Lucy Collison and Bella Watling said they enjoy a frozen drink as an occasional treat.

 

Lucy Collison and Bella Watling show the amount of sugar contained in a large frozen drink.
Lucy Collison and Bella Watling show the amount of sugar contained in a large frozen drink.

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