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Dental Association Says Kiwi-led Study In ‘The Lancet’ Shows Sugar-tax Benefit

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) says a study by leading New Zealand public health experts showing different scenarios on consumer taxes for unhealthy products is worth considering.

The study models the benefit of taxes on saturated fats, salt and sugar content of food, and looks at the impact of a 20 percent subsidy on fruit and vegetables.

NZDA sugary drinks spokesperson Dr Rob Beaglehole says the biggest gain in the study was shown for a tax on sugar, above the others.

“A tax on sugar shows the greatest overall health benefits in this study, and if implemented, we think oral health could be one of the biggest improvements.

As dentists, we have repeatedly said that sugar consumption must drop if overall oral health is to improve in New Zealand.”

NZDA has consistently advocated to the Labour-led Coalition government and the previous National-led Coalition government on the benefits of a sugary drinks levy.

“World Health Organization guidelines are absolutely clear. A sugary drinks tax is a must. We endorse this and feel that now is the right time for a serious conversation on this for the long-term dental health of all New Zealanders,” concludes Dr Beaglehole.

Notes to editors:

The effect of food taxes and subsidies on population health and health costs: a modelling study Tony Blakely, Christine Cleghorn, Anja Mizdrak, Wilma Waterlander, Nhung Nghiem, Boyd Swinburn, Nick Wilson, Cliona Ni Mhurchu

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