THE National Heart Foundation of Australia applauds the UK government’s move on soft drinks and other sugar drinks.
National Heart Foundation CEO, Professor Garry Jennings said the UK’s budget announcement of a tax on sugary drinks strengthens the Heart Foundation’s call for decisive policy action to tackle Australia’s growing obesity crisis.
“It is vital the Australian Government takes a strong policy and regulatory stance on sugary drinks that echoes community concern over the role play in our growing obesity crisis,” Professor Jennings said.
“By taking the hard line, the Government will send a strong signal that obesity, and its subsequent health consequences and economic burden, is a serious issue worthy of immediate intervention.
“The UK sugary-drinks tax should undoubtedly increase the pressure on government to act now and issue its own strategy for tackling obesity in Australia.
“Governments are failing in their obligation to help provide the healthy start to life every child deserves.
“While we cannot ignore the global nature of the childhood obesity epidemic, tackling the problem must begin in our own backyard,” Prof Jennings said.
The consumption of sugary drinks is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity, which is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
There is no single intervention that will halt the childhood obesity epidemic, instead cooperation on both a local and global level is the key.
The Heart Foundation continues to call on the Australian Government to:
– Develop a comprehensive, funded national obesity prevention strategy, drawing on recommendations of the Preventive Health Taskforce
– Explore options for a ‘health levy’ on sugar-sweetened beverages, with funds raised earmarked for health promotion
– Provide robust support for implementation of the Health Star Rating front-of-pack labelling system, with increased support for education campaigns
– Strengthen the national food reformulation program
– Fund robust obesity prevention public education campaigns
– Prohibit the exposure of children to the marketing and promotion of junk food to