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NZDA urges NZ not to be left behind on sugary drinks

13 September 2018

Media release
Dental Association urges New Zealand not to be left behind on sugary drinks

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is urging the government not to be left behind on measures to reduce sugary drink consumption.

“The government needs to act here, rather than pay lip service. We are seeing a severe situation with child dental decay. It’s linked to sugary drinks, and frankly, if child poverty is to be addressed, oral health needs to be part of this,” said NZDA sugary drinks spokesperson Dr Donna Kennedy.

Dr Kennedy cites several UK measures that were introduced to reduce sugary drink consumption.

“The sugary drink health levy was crucial, not just the threat of it, but the actual introduction. Drinks with higher levels of sugar saw a higher levy rate applied compared to lower sugar drinks. It saw drinks producers in the UK reformulate sugary drinks, to get them in at the lower rate.

This had an immediate benefit prior to the implementation of the sugary drink health levy.

“The other thing the UK has done is that supermarkets introduced a ban on selling energy drinks to under 18s,” says Dr Kennedy.

“Energy drinks, aside from ingredients like taurine and caffeine, often have the highest levels of sugar out of all drink categories. It would be great to see local leadership on this from supermarkets. We saw it recently with plastic bags, so we know that a stand can be taken.”

NZDA has called for a sugary drinks health levy in line with World Health Organization recommendations.


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