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Dental Association praises Whanganui DHB

25 July 2017

Media release

Dental Association praises Whanganui DHB for ‘water is best’ approach

Whanganui District Health Board is spreading a ‘water is best’ message in children’s and maternity wards at its hospital.

They are encouraging patients, family, visitors, and ward staff to reject sugary drinks in favour of water, both at hospital and at home.

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) says this type of leadership is commendable.

“NZDA supports the DHB’s stance here. This is a leadership issue in our communities. We now have those at the frontline standing up against the harms that sugary drinks cause,” said NZDA sugary drinks spokesperson Dr Donna Kennedy.

“From a dental perspective sugary drinks are devastating. There is no doubt they’re a factor in the increase in children admitted for dental treatment in hospitals – this jumped from 4500 to 7500 over the past decade and a half.

“Our Consensus Statement recommends expansion of nationwide social marketing campaigns encouraging the public to switch their sugary drinks to water,” says Dr Kennedy.

A consortium of public health groups is backing a NZDA-led 7-point Consensus Statement on Sugary Drinks.

The seven actions are;

1) Introducing an icon on drinks indicating, in teaspoons, the amount of sugar in each drink.

2) Independent monitoring and evaluation of food marketing, with an emphasis on marketing that influences children.

3) Urging the government to adopt WHO limit guidelines on sugar.

4) Encouraging public to switch to water by; introducing warning labels highlighting sugary drinks as risk factors for obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay, and a nationwide social marketing campaigns such as ‘Switch to Water’.

5) Working with schools and the Ministry of Education to introduce ‘water only’ policies.

6) Introducing local council ‘water only’ policies at council facilities and events.

7) Introduction of a ‘sugary drinks’ tax in line with WHO recommendations.

The Consensus Statement is endorsed by; Activity and Nutrition Aotearoa (ANA), Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, Cancer Society of New Zealand, Diabetes New Zealand, Hapai Te Hauora, NZ Dental & Oral Health Therapists Association, NZ Branch of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry, NZ Society of Hospital and Community Dentistry, Te Ao Marama, The Heart Foundation, The Public Health Association, The Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.


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