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Bell Block stores band together against sugary drinks

Bell Block food & beverage stores band together against sugary drinks

(Replaces earlier published and then withdraw release)

Taranaki’s Bell Block community are working together to reduce school children’s consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, through supporting a Taranaki District Health Board initiative called ‘Tap into Water’ which promotes the implementation of water only guidelines in schools and community facilities.

Taranaki DHB Health Promoter, Jill Nicholls said, ”Food and beverage retailers in Bell Block have agreed not to sell sugary drinks to children on their way to school in the mornings, which is thought to be the first community approach of its kind in New Zealand.”

Bell Block retailers Big Basket, Subway, Bakery, Four Square and Parklands Supervalue have all made a commitment not to sell sugary drinks to children before 9am on weekdays and are vowing to support local schools and the community to make healthy positive changes.

Mrs Nicholls added, “This is a fantastic commitment from both Bell Block retailers and schools and reinforces that changing the environment is the only way to really improve all the complex health problems associated with children drinking sugary drinks.”

“Research has found poor diet and nutrition are associated with lower academic achievement. Sugar sweetened beverages have no nutritional value and if the calories from regular excessive sugar consumption are not burned off, it can lead to long term health complications like obesity, heart disease, diabetes, raised blood pressure and tooth decay,” explained Mrs Nicholls.

Bell Block food and beverage retailers have not only committed to no drinks other than water or plain milk being sold to students before school on weekdays, but they are also trying to discourage parents buying sugary drinks for their children and have pamphlets available to give to parents who want more information. Parklands Supervalue owners, Brad and Rochelle Meikle, were the first Bell Block store to get behind the initiative. Brad Meikle said, “We wanted to have a positive impact on school children having better learning outcomes and a healthier diet, that’s why we support not selling sugary drinks to children before school.” Mr Miekle added, “So far we’ve had a really good response with no negativity from families and students who have been accepting of us not selling sugary drinks. But what we really want is for parents to reinforce this message at home too.”

Stratford’s Northern and Southern dairies, and CR Dairy in Eltham, have already made the move not to sell sugary drinks to children before school, but Bell Block is the first community to have all of its retailer’s band together over the initiative.

Ms Nicholls said, “As a community we all need to work together and create an environment that supports better choices. This includes less consumption of sugar sweetened beverage for our children.”

ENDS

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