A recent article reported that Australian parents would cut their children's consumption of soft drinks if the cost increased, suggesting that a sugar tax would encourage people to make healthier food choices. This supports what we already know about a tax on sugar sweetened beverages - Mexico has implemented one and seen a reduction in the sales of soft drinks. Other jurisdictions are also moving down this path, including Berkeley and Philadelphia (USA) and the United Kingdom.
Last year a study reported that more than eight in ten Australians would support a tax on sugary drinks if the revenue was spent tackling childhood obesity. Australians currently consume 1.28 billion litres of soft drink annually. With rates of tooth decay and obesity increasing in Australian children, a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would help to reduce consumption, and raise over $250 million dollars a year. This money could be spent on health promotion and treatment programs tackling obesity and tooth decay. This survey was conducted by the Obesity Policy Coalition, who have been advocating for more measures to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in Australia.
According to Rethink Sugary Drink, soft-drink consumption in Australia has increased from an average 65 litres per person in the early 1970s to about 100 litres today, or 267 standard cans a year. The average can of soft drink contains 33g (or about 10 teaspoons) of sugar, while a 600ml bottle contains 16 teaspoons of sugar, significantly more than the 6 teaspoons of sugar limit recommended by the World Health Organisation.
With increasing rates of tooth decay, obesity and diabetes, it is time for more serious action on sugar. Join us in our campaign to reduce sugar consumption and improve health.