The consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. It is well established that obesity is a leading risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.
Young Australians are very high consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages, and sugar-sweetened soft drinks in particular. The highest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages are young males (19 to 24 years of age) and male adolescents (12 to 18 years of age), and males are higher consumers than females across all age groups. The prevalence of sugar-sweetened beverages’ consumption is higher among lower socio-economic groups, compared to higher socio-economic groups.
A range of factors influence the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, including taste, social settings, price and marketing.
Cancer Council Australia recommends that adults and children should limit sugar-sweetened beverages and instead drink water or reduced fat milk.
Australian governments, schools, non-government organisations and others should take comprehensive action to encourage children and adults to reduce sugar-sweetened beverages’ consumption. Actions should include:
- A social marketing campaign, supported by Australian governments;
- An investigation by the federal Department of Treasury and Finance into tax options to increase the price of sugar-sweetened beverages or soft drinks;
- Comprehensive restrictions by Australian governments to reduce children’s exposure to marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages, including through schools and children’s sports, events and activities;
- Comprehensive restrictions by state governments on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages in all schools (primary and secondary), government institutions, children’s sports and events and places frequented by children, i.e. activity centres.
- An investigation by state and local governments into the steps that may be taken to reduce the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in workplaces, government institutions, health care settings and other public places.
See the full position statement:
Sugar-sweetened Beverages Position Statement