New research adds weight to LiveLighter’s sugary drinks campaign
Research from Curtin University published in today’s Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health has found that West Australians who are obese are more likely to consume sugary drinks than those who are a healthy weight.
With almost two thirds of Australians overweight or obese, the report highlights the importance of curbing sugary drinks consumption, and the role of public health campaigns such as LiveLighter, Australia’s leading healthy lifestyle program.
The study, conducted in Western Australia and South Australia, involved more than 13,500 participants.
In WA on the day prior to the survey, more than one in five (21.8 per cent) participants drank sugary drinks, and people classified obese were more likely to consume such beverages.
“Our research found that sugary drinks consumers are more likely to be male, have little interest in health, and ate take away food that day,” said Dr Christina Pollard, Research Associate at Curtin University.
In WA, those participants who had bought take away meals consumed around 10 per cent more sugary drinks that day than those who did not have any meals away from home.
The study also highlights that participants who drank sugary drinks are consuming a significant amount of energy from these beverages.
“Sugary drinks consumers had approximately 500mls of these drinks per day, which would provide an additional 900 kilojoules, or 215 calories per day,” Dr Pollard said.
To put this into perspective, 900 kJ is about the amount of kilojoules in a Mars Bar. An average Australian adult consumes around 8,700 kJ per day.
The findings suggest that increasing the awareness of the adverse health effects of consumption may be a first step in curbing sugary drinks intake, according to LiveLighter Campaign Director, Maria Szybiak.
“It’s pleasing to note this research supports the strategies adopted by LiveLighter,” Ms Szybiak said.
“The authors also recommend health promotion interventions targeting younger adults, particularly males,” Ms Szybiak said.
“Since 2012, LiveLighter has promoted the fact that sugary drinks contain little nutritional benefit and are linked to the soaring levels of overweight and obesity, which can lead to chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.”
Ms Szybiak said it was a timely reminder that Australia should consider a sugary drinks tax, with almost two thirds of West Australian adults in support of such a tax, according to research conducted by LiveLighter.
“This study provides further evidence why Australia needs to reduce consumption of sugary drinks by applying a tax to these products as well as health promotion campaigns such as LiveLighter,” she said.
For media enquiries please contact Elizabeth Palmer, Communications Manager, on 08 9382 5935 or Elizabeth.Palmer@heartfoundation.org.au.