Following the UK Government’s announcement overnight on the introduction of a sugar levy on soft drinks by 2018 and Jamie Oliver’s call to Australian governments to follow suit, The Good Foundation is calling on the Australian Federal Government to act now and do the same in Australia. The Good Foundation supports the introduction of a tax on sugar sweetened beverages, as a means of discouraging their consumption and raising revenue that can be reinvested in preventative health initiatives.

This is a brave and fantastic move by the UK Government with money that will be raised by the levy going towards dedicated funding for sport in every primary school across the United Kingdom. As a long-time sugar tax campaigner, Jamie’s efforts to shine a spotlight on the impact of sugar consumption on our health are paving the way forward for better health for future generations.

Sugar, in particular sugar sweetened beverages such as soft drinks and cordials, are a strong contributor to weight gain, obesity and chronic disease worldwide in Australia. Research has shown that consuming 340ml of sugary drink a day (which equates to less than one can) increases your risk of type 2 diabetes by 22%.

Young Australians are very high consumers of sugar sweetened beverages. The 2007 Australian National Children’s Nutrition and Physical activity survey found 47% of children aged under 16 had consumed sugar sweetened beverages.

In view of the rise in childhood obesity and diet related disease and the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and cordials, as strong contributors to weight gain, obesity and chronic disease in Australia, The Good Foundation believes water is the best form of hydration. The foundation actively promotes the consumption of water in preference to sugar sweetened beverages in all Jamie’s Ministry of Food Centres as part of our ongoing program delivery. The Good Foundation believes we should enjoy our calories as part of a tasty, balanced meal, not drink empty ones.

The Good Foundation also supports effective controls to reduce children’s access to sugar sweetened beverages, including through limits placed on their availability in schools and other settings such as children focussed sporting venues. The Good Foundation also supports the implementation of measures to reduce children’s exposure to marketing for sugar sweetened beverages.

We all know that sugary drinks are a major contributor to the health and obesity problems that are being faced by Australians particularly our kids. Australian Governments must act now and take the great lead being set by the UK Government to introduce a levy on sugary drinks. Let’s use this opportunity to have the discussion and debate in Australia and address this as one of the key contributing factors to chronic related disease such as diabetes and obesity. Failing to acknowledge and do something about this issue will mean that we fail the possibility of providing a healthier futures and longer lives for our children and future generations.

For additional information, comments and interviews please contact:

Camilla Speirs, PR Manager Jamie’s Ministry of Food & The Good Foundation

e: m: 0409 359 339