Sugar By Half Campaign Launch - Media Release 11 October 2016

SugarFree Smiles is excited to participate in the launch of the SugarByHalf
campaign to help people to reduce their sugar consumption and improve
their health. The average Australian consumes more than 16 teaspoons of
added sugar per day, and for children aged 14-18 years, it’s 22 teaspoons.
The World Health Organisation recommends limiting daily added sugar to
around 6 teaspoons per day. With our current eating habits, it’s not surprising
that 1 in 2 children aged 6 years have decay in their baby teeth, and 1 in 2
children aged 12 years have decay in their adult teeth, and decay rates have
increased more than 50% since 1996. But it’s not just about teeth. One in
three Australian kids will be overweight or obese by 2025, and type II
diabetes rates are increasing. Like SugarByHalf says, we’re in the midst of a
Sugardemic!

SugarFree Smiles has been a strong advocate for raising awareness about
the amount of sugar in everyday foods, encouraging people to look at the
food label to see how much added sugar is in everyday foods and drinks.

“Sugar is absolutely everywhere,” said A/Prof Hopcraft. “People need to
realise that it’s not just about soft drinks, cakes and lollies. Processed and
packaged foods are full of hidden sugar, and that is contributing to our poor
health. For example, a breakfast of cereal and low fat yoghurt could easily
contain more than 9 teaspoons of sugar – already well over the daily limit.”

We would love everyone to participate in #SugarSwap this week – take a
sugary food or drink that you normally eat, and swap it out for something
healthier instead. Share on social media to cement your commitment, and
see how easy it is to remove a little bit of sugar from your diet. Maybe it’s
swapping a donut or cake for a banana, or having natural instead of flavoured
yoghurt. Or try cutting down the added sugar in your coffee or tea.

For more information on the SugarByHalf campaign, go to
www.sugarbyhalf.com

Interviews available with:
A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft 0142 487 853 Dr Sophie Beaumont 0414 834 855

SugarFree Smiles aims to make changes to policies in Australia to tackle the
growing health problems related to poor diet, and in particular sugar intake.
Our mission is to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia,
in order to reduce consumption and provide funds for health promotion and
treatment programs. www.sugarfreesmiles.com Twitter: @SugarFreeSmiles
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sugarfreesmiles/

 

Sugar-free Smiles Media Release 15 April 2016

Sugar-free Smiles Applauds Local Soccer Club Going Sugar-Free

MEDIA RELEASE 15 April 2016 

Sugar-free Smiles is delighted with the announcement today that local soccer club FC Birrarung has adopted a ‘Sports and Soft Drink Free’ policy, and will be actively encouraging all players to drink plenty of tap water and avoid sugar-sweetened beverages. The club believes that this is a positive step in line with YMCA policy on healthy drink choices.

Sugar-free Smiles spokesperson and team manager for the Under 12 girls team at the club, Dr Sophie Beaumont described the new policy as an important step in educating children and families about the dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages. “Australian children are consuming significantly more added sugar than recommended, and a large proportion of that is coming from soft drinks and sports drinks. The best way for kids to hydrate playing sport is by drinking water,” said Dr Beaumont.

Club President Ross McGravie is fully supportive of the new policy and hopes it will encourage children and their families to go for water, instead of the sugary options. “It’s a perfect opportunity for a sporting club to show initiative and leadership in this area and Birrarung FC are proud to be a progressive club in this respect”, Mr McGravie said.

Diet-related diseases are consuming an increasing proportion of health expenditure in many countries, and Australia is no exception. Dental caries (tooth decay), type II diabetes and obesity rates are skyrocketing, and the burden of disease is creating challenges for public health professionals and the government. Recent data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that 1 in 2 children aged 12 years have tooth decay in their permanent (adult) teeth, and more than half of 6-year-old children have tooth decay in their deciduous (baby) teeth. There has been a 38% increase in tooth decay in 12-year-old children from 1996, and a 60% increase for 6-year-old children.

The relationship between dental disease and a diet high in free sugars is well understood and extensively documented in the dental literature.  It is time the dental profession looks beyond the traditional “band-aid” (i.e. surgical) modes of treatment, and actively pursue ways to address the upstream cause of dental disease. Tackling dental disease needs a multidisciplinary approach. Reducing consumption of SSB is critical to the success in managing this overwhelming problem. The prevention of disease is more cost-effective than dealing with the management of disease.

Dr Beaumont was pleased with the role that Sugar-free Smiles played in advocating for the introduction of this policy and helping to educate members of the club. “This is a small but important step forward in the fight to improve our health. I’m proud of FC Birrarung for listening to the concerns of parents and showing leadership, which hopefully now other sporting clubs can emulate,” she said.

 For further information, please go the website www.sugarfreesmiles.com

Or contact Dr Sophie Beaumont 0414 834 855 or A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft 0142 487 853

 Sugar-free Smiles aims to make changes to policies in Australia to tackle the growing health problems related to poor diet, and in particular sugar intake. Our mission is to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia, in order to reduce consumption and provide funds for health promotion and treatment programs.

 

Sugar-free Smiles Media Release 17 March 2016

Sugar-free Smiles Welcomes UK Sugar Tax Announcement

 

MEDIA RELEASE March 2016

Sugar-free Smiles is delighted with the announcement today that the UK will be introducing a tax on sugar-sweetened-beverages in 2018. Sugar-free Smiles is an advocacy group aimed at reducing the incidence of lifestyle diseases linked to poor diets, notably excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages such as soft drinks.

With recent announcement also by the YMCA groups across Victoria in adopting a NO soft drink and sports drink policy, the time is right for the current Australian Government to stand up to big corporations and introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened-beverages.

Diet-related diseases are consuming an increasing proportion of health expenditure in many countries, and Australia is no exception. Dental caries (tooth decay), type II diabetes and obesity rates are skyrocketing, and the burden of disease is creating challenges for public health professionals and the government. There is a growing awareness in the community that more action needs to be taken to tackle these preventable diseases.

Recent data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows that 1 in 2 children aged 12 years have tooth decay in their permanent (adult) teeth, and more than half of 6-year-old children have tooth decay in their deciduous (baby) teeth. There has been a 38% increase in tooth decay in 12-year-old children from 1996, and a 60% increase for 6-year-old children.  The prevalence of tooth decay shows a strong social gradient, being significantly more concentrated in disadvantaged communities.

The impact of dental disease on a child’s life can be devastating. Pain, difficulty with eating, bad breath and sleepless nights can affect a child’s social and physical well-being. Often the disease reaches a point where admission to a hospital for management under general anaesthesia is required, especially in very young children. This causes much distress, for the child and their parents, who are often left feeling guilty. The impact of multiple extractions of primary teeth can lead to long-term problems with malocclusion and crowding in the permanent dentition, adding further to the burden of dental disease. 

In 2013-14, there were 63,910 hospitalizations due to dental causes in Australia, accounting for a staggering 10.6 per cent of all preventable hospital admissions, placing a significant drain on the public hospital system.

Dental expenditure through the Child Dental Benefits Scheme for tooth extractions has increased from $7.6 million in 2013/14 to $20.5 million in 2014/15, and for restorative services (fillings) the increase has been from $39.1 million to $96.1 million over the same period.

Dental disease cannot be viewed in isolation of other general health issues. Obesity/overweight is becoming a significant problem in Australia, where they are currently the second highest contributor to the burden of disease. At present, 1 in 4 Australian children, and nearly 2 in 3 adults are obese or overweight. The total direct cost for overweight and obesity in 2005 was $12 billion ($6.5 billion for overweight and $14.5 billion for obesity), with indirect costs of $35.6 billion per year. The morbidity associated with such conditions cannot be underestimated.

In 2009, Australia was among the top ten highest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages globally, and although there are limited recent data quantifying Australian sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption, extant data suggests that children are heavy consumers from an early age.  

Annual sales of soft drinks have increased substantially over the past five decades, with consumption increasing from 45 litres per capita in 1969 to 120 litres per capita in 1999. The 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey found that 47% of children aged 2-16 years consumed SSB's daily. In the past decade it appears that consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks has decreased, to around 89 litres per capita in 2014. Although there has been a decline in consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, and the sale of other sugar-sweetened beverages has increased.

Public Health England recently released a report ‘Sugar Reduction: The Evidence for Action’ that detailed the strong evidence base linking sugar consumption to a range of health problems including dental caries, obesity and type II diabetes.[1] The report detailed a range of measures that should be introduced to tackle this problem, including issues related to marketing, advertising and promoting high sugar foods. One of the key recommendations was:

“Introduction of a price increase of a minimum of 10-20% on high sugar products through the use of a tax or levy such as on full sugar soft drinks, based on the emerging evidence of the impact of such measures in other countries.”

 The relationship between dental disease and a diet high in free sugars is well understood and extensively documented in the dental literature.  It is time the dental profession looks beyond the traditional “band-aid” (i.e. surgical) modes of treatment, and actively pursue ways to address the upstream cause of dental disease. Tackling dental disease needs a multidisciplinary approach. Reducing consumption of SSB is critical to the success in managing this overwhelming problem. The prevention of disease is more cost-effective than dealing with the management of disease.  

For further information, please go the website www.sugarfreesmiles.com

Or contact Dr Sophie Beaumont 0414 834 855 or A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft 0142 487 853

 

Sugar-free Smiles aims to make changes to policies in Australia to tackle the growing health problems related to poor diet, and in particular sugar intake. Our mission is to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia, in order to reduce consumption and provide funds for health promotion and treatment programs.

www.sugarfreesmiles.com

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sugar-reduction-from-evidence-into-action