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Local Schools Tap in to Water


Local Schools Tap in to Water

“Water is our drink of choice. Drink sachets, fizzy drinks and caffeine-based drinks are not welcome here.” That’s the call from Allandale School Principal, Drew Manning, one of many local principals taking steps to remove sugary drinks from their school.

Other schools are taking a similar lead. Waimana School, and Tawera Bilingual School have both adopted water only policies which ensure no sugary drinks are sold, brought to school, or offered at school fundraising or sports events. Meanwhile, Fairhaven School in Te Puke has installed water coolers in each classroom block and removed sugary drinks from their lunch menu, before recently formalising this into a water only policy. Edgecumbe College has removed almost all sugary drinks from their canteen and now offer low-cost bottled water, as well as promoting their drinking fountains.

Medical Officer of Health, Dr Neil de Wet, says, “Regular consumption of sugary drinks increases the risk of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. Having just one or two sugary drinks a day may increase a child's risk of being overweight by 50% and increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by about 25%.” A recent survey conducted by Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service on the availability of sugary drinks in schools in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes areas showed 46% of schools do not sell sugary drinks such as sugary fizzy drinks, fruit juice and flavoured milk. While no primary schools or intermediate schools in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes regions have fizzy drinks available or for sale at school, over 60% of secondary schools have fizzy drinks available for purchase. Dr de Wet adds, “There are a number of schools in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes area that are well ahead in becoming sugary-drink free and so making it easier for students to be healthy. With the availability of sugary drinks typically increasing as students move up levels of schooling, it is great to see Edgecumbe College taking a lead to make these healthy changes.”

Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service has been working together with the Heart Foundation, Healthy Families (NZ) Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s oral health promotion team to support schools to reduce their availability of sugary drinks, and tap in to water. For support for your school to become sugary drink free or for more information on sugary drinks please visit www.ttophs.govt.nz/sugary_drinks.

ENDS

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