Is it time to tax sugary treats?

Based on US estimates, consuming one can of soft drink per day could lead to a 6.75 kg weight gain in one year.
Based on US estimates, consuming one can of soft drink per day could lead to a 6.75 kg weight gain in one year. Linden Morris

SUGAR in drinks is public enemy number one for three of the country's leading health organisations, with good reason, but not all agree that it should be singled out for attention in the fight against obesity.

Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation of Australia have joined forces for the first time to call for action by governments, schools and non-government organisations targeting sugary drinks, which is one of the key contributors to obesity.

One measure they have called for is a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to encourage consumers to reduce their intake.

However a spokesperson for the Dietitians Association of Australia believes we need to look at the broader causes of obesity rather than just focusing on sugary drinks.

"We support tighter regulation on the marketing of foods generally that don't have a whole lot of nutrition," DAA spokesperson Margaret Hays said.

"And we're not convinced that making certain foods (sugary drinks) more expensive necessarily means that people will stop buying it.

"Obesity is a complex problem and one thing to consider is that everything comes in a bigger package these days. Portion sizes in general have increased.

"So my number one message is eat less and drink less, full stop."

The three health organisations pointed to a 2007 study which found almost half (47%) of children aged two to 16 consuming sugar-sweetened beverages (including energy drinks) daily, with a quarter (25%) consuming sugary soft drinks daily.

Another recent study by Cancer Council and Heart Foundation found that one in five secondary schools in Australia had vending machines - 49% of which contained sports drinks, and 38% soft drinks.

The organisations have launched a TV campaign called Rethink Sugary Drink.

Other recommendations include a call for a social marketing campaign to highlight the health impacts of consuming sugar-sweetened beverages, restrictions by governments to reduce children's exposure to marketing of sugary drinks through schools and sporting events and an investigation to reduce points of sale of such drinks to children.

A 600ml bottle of soft drink can contain up to 16 teaspoons or packets of sugar, according to leading health organisations.
A 600ml bottle of soft drink can contain up to 16 teaspoons or packets of sugar, according to leading health organisations. Contributed


  • A 600ml sugar-sweetened soft drink contains about 16 packs/teaspoons of sugar.
  • Based on US estimates, consuming one can of soft drink per day could lead to a 6.75 kg weight gain in one year.
  • In the 12 months to October 2012, Australians bought 1.28 billion litres of carbonated/still drinks with sugar, with regular cola drinks being the most popular (447 million litres).

Do you avoid sugary drinks?

This poll ended on 25 January 2013.

Yes - 60%

No - 39%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  health obesity sugar tax weight

Hare Krishna School proves LNAP success

TOP GRADES: A student from the Hare Krishna School takes her time doing her English school work.

Students at the Hare Krishna School are above national average.

Tweed cricket: Cudgen continue unbeated run

Clubs battled it out in Round Three of the Tweed District Cricket Association over the weekend.

Tweed District Cricket Association Third Grade wrap.

Like a new car for just $50?

BEEP BEEP: The Kingscliff Mini School students are selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the school.

Help support the Kingscliff Mini School.

Local Partners

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

MEL Small had already gone into labour when she learned of the tragic fate of her sister Jodie Spears.

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Declan Kelly and the Rising Sun to shine bright at festival

Declan Kelly & The Rising Sun is one of the headlining acts at this year's festival.

Main stage set to pump with radiant reggae and dub vibes

Expert's talk on Olley's life is not to be missed

THE ARTIST: Artist Margaret Olley at the Tweed Regional Art Gallery in 2006.

RARE insight into the life of one of most cherished hoarders

Kanye West threatens to boycott Grammys

West says he won't go to the Grammys if Frank Ocean's not nominated

Why this actress wasn't embarrassed by nude photo leak

Leslie Jones source Bang

'If you wanna see Leslie Jones naked, just ask,' she said

Dad's Army comic genius Jim Perry dies

Jimmy Perry, the creator of Dad's Army.

Dad's Army series captured all that British people savour

Check out some fashions from the Coast festival

FASHION: Ocean Zen range.

Images from the Sunshine Coast Fashion Festival show what's hot

Australian Survivor's magician Matt out of tricks

Australian Survivor contestant Matt Tarrant.

SHOW'S power couple looks unstoppable in race to the finish.

Top floor teams take out The Block's terrace week

Kim and Chris pictured on their winning outdoor terrace in a scene from The Block.

RIVALS Kim and Chris and Julia and Sasha tie in final week of work.

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track