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Goodbye Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Goodbye Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

Northland DHB will soon be walking the talk by eradicating all sugar-sweetened beverages on-site.

This month, Northland DHB approved the policy for the removal of sugar-sweetened beverages from onsite cafeterias and vending machines and this is on track to take place from October this year.

Sugar-sweetened beverages can contain large amounts of sugar (and, therefore, energy) but few other nutrients. These generally include soft drinks, fruit drinks, iced tea, sports drinks, energy and vitamin water drinks. Low or no-sugar beverage options include water, unflavoured milk, non-sugar added fruit and vegetable juices, tea, coffee, artificially sweetened diet or zero drinks and these will still be available onsite.

The policy has been in the pipeline a long time, according to Northland DHB diabetes dietician Virjean Primeau who has enthusiastically welcomed the outcome.

“It existed when I started here eight years ago but nothing was ever done,” she says. “It’s extremely satisfying to see it finally coming to fruition.”

She says it’s time the Northland DHB practises what it preaches by not selling sugary drinks on-site.

“From my perspective, eliminating sugary drinks is a real positive step in the right direction. People need to drink more water and milk. We’re rapt and I’m sure the dental health team is going to be as Northland DHB Diabetes Services clinical nurse manager Amy Savage says the sugary drinks removal is important in terms of Type 2 diabetes prevention, as well as obesity prevention, tooth decay and general health.

“There are more than 9,000 people with diabetes in Northland - that’s six per cent of the total population and it’s estimated to increase by 72 per cent between 2009 and 2026.”

In May a study conducted by a group of international researchers led by the University of Washington compared obesity trends between countries over time. The analysis of 188 countries between 1980 and 2013 found that New Zealand men have got fatter faster than males in any other country. The study found that the adult overweight and obesity rate jumped from 50 per cent to 66 per cent in the last 33 years while the rate of overweight and obese children has risen from 18 per cent to 29 per cent. New Zealand has an estimated 2.2m overweight adults and 960,000 of them are obese, with the highest rate of obesity in both adults and children in Australasia.

Last month the Northland DHB discussed these startling health statistics at some length and felt that district health boards and hospitals are role models for the community when it comes to healthy food policies and practices.

Says chief executive Dr Nick Chamberlain: “A lot of work has been going on within the Healthy Lifestyles team of Public Health, along with colleagues in the hospital around fizzy free drinks and healthy food as we are conscious that, as a district health board, we need to show leadership in this As a result the board requested that the Healthy Food Policy be extended to sugar-sweetened beverages being removed from hospital cafeterias and vending machines.

How much sugar is in coke?

• 355ml can - nine tsp

• 600ml bottle – 16 tsp

• 1.5 l bottle – 40 tsp

• 2.25 l bottle – 60 tsp

Top 10 Selling Items In New Zealand Supermarkets:

1. Coca-Cola 1.5l

2. Waittie’s Spaghetti 420g

3. Coca-Cola 2.25l

4. Nature’s Fresh White Toast 700g

5. Wattie’s Baked Beans 420g

6. Dole Bobby Bananas 850g

7. Tip Top Soft White Toast 700g

8. Sprite Lemonade 1.5l

9. Mollenberg Original Toast 700g

10. Coke Zero 1.5l


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