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Fizzy drink decision a step in the right direction

1 June 2006

Fizzy drink decision a step in the right direction

Green MP Sue Kedgley has welcomed the Health Minister's decision to get soft drinks out of New Zealand schools by 2008 but says there's still much more that can be done.

"At last we have a Minister who realises that selling high sugar food and drink in schools is undermining the health and learning abilities of young New Zealanders, and is a serious public health issue,"

Getting sugary fizzy drinks out of schools is an important first step in the battle against obesity, but what is needed is a more comprehensive policy that ensures only healthy food and drink is sold in schools, Ms Kedgley says.

"A recent Green Party survey of the food sold in New Zealand schools found that pies, chips, sausage rolls and donuts are still the staple foods in most school tuck shops. So we need government leadership in a comprehensive programme to get all unhealthy foods out of schools as well."

It is important that all soft drinks, and not just sugary ones, were removed from schools, she said.

"I am totally opposed to the idea that we can just replace high sugar drinks with diet soft drinks," Ms Kedgley says.

"Diet drinks rot children's teeth just as much as sugary ones, and they still foster a 'soft drink culture.' Many of them contain caffeine, an addictive substance which affects young children's nervous systems, and can make children hyperactive and impair their learning. They also contain controversial additives, like aspartame, which has been implicated in a huge range of adverse effects."

"Far better to take a bold step like France and remove vending machines entirely. Or only allow milk, 100% fruit juices and water to be sold in their place," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS


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