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Support to extend ban on sugary energy drinks

Diabetes New Zealand is welcoming the move by Countdown supermarkets to ban the sale of energy drinks to people under the age of 16.

The ban at the chain’s 180 supermarkets throughout New Zealand came into effect on September 2.

Diabetes New Zealand encourages all other retailers to do the right thing and join Countdown in imposing a ban. It also wants the Government to protect children from the potential harm of long term consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Energy drinks typically contain sugar and caffeine and must carry a label warning that they are not recommended for children.

“We applaud Countdown for the move,” said Diabetes New Zealand chief executive Heather Verry.

“We would like to see it extended to a complete ban on sugary drinks being sold in schools.”

The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education have appealed to schools to supply only water and plain milk.

Diabetes New Zealand called for the introduction of a sugar tax in its submission to the Tax Working Group led by Sir Michael Cullen (1). In its report in February, the working group said it did not support a sugar tax.

In its submission, Diabetes New Zealand said, “Scientific and nutritional studies overwhelmingly show causal links exist between sugar sweetened beverages and the prevalence of obesity and type 2 diabetes.”

More than 250,000 people in New Zealand have Type 2 diabetes. A further 100,000 are estimated to be at risk of developing the disease or have pre-diabetes, or elevated blood glucose levels that may lead to Type 2 diabetes. Forty people are diagnosed with diabetes every day.

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