Sugary Drinks Set To Fizzle Out - National Expert Shows WA Hospitals How
A national expert in public health is to meet with WA health leaders this week to discuss removing sugary drinks ahead of next week’s deadline to comply with the Government’s Healthy Options Policy.
The policy will come into full effect next week on October 31 and will restrict the sale of ‘red’ ticketed sugary drinks and foods in hospitals.
VicHealth’s Kirstan Corben is currently in Perth for a LiveLighter® series of closed door meetings to discuss the positive changes she oversaw in reducing sugary drinks in Victoria and how these can be implemented in WA.
Under her direction, Victoria’s Alfred Hospital made significant changes to its sugary drinks practices in 2016 by removing ‘red’ drinks (sugar sweetened beverages) from display at serviced cafes and self-service refrigerators.
The price of these drinks was also raised by 20 percent yet there was no significant difference to total drink sales and 36,500 fewer ‘red’ drinks sold each year. This represents an estimated saving of almost one tonne (949,000 grams) less sugar being consumed each year at the hospital.
“In Victoria, we found consumers kept buying drinks; they just made healthier choices,” Ms Corben said. “Importantly, because drink sales were maintained, the change in buyer behaviour was financially viable and sustainable for retailers.
“In Victoria, we’ve made a significant impact in reducing the consumption of sugary drinks and I’m pleased to see the Western Australia Government introducing this first step to make the healthy choice the easy choice in health services.
“Our food and drink choices are influenced by the world around us - advertising and promotion plays a huge role. With two-thirds of WA adults now overweight or obese, it’s vitally important that we support people to make healthier choices to improve their health and the health of the community,” Ms Corben said.
Cancer Council WA’s LiveLighter Senior Consultant Maria Szybiak said there was a clear link between the consumption of sugary drinks and the obesity epidemic.
“We know that sugary drinks have little or no nutritional value and may lead to weight gain, which can increase the risk of a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease and a range of cancers,” Ms Szybiak said.
“The average can of soft drink contains nine teaspoons of sugar and can undo the benefits of an otherwise healthy diet. This amount of sugar is more than double the daily recommended amount of added sugar for an adult.
“This great step being made in our hospitals will provide the right environment for people to make better choices about what they consume and will play an important role in halting our increasing obesity rates.”
Kirstan Corben is VicHealth’s Executive Manager, Programs Group. She has 16 years’ experience in health promotion, including most recently as Alfred Health’s Lead for Population Health and Health Promotion.
LiveLighter® is Australia’s leading healthy lifestyle campaign, developed in Western Australia in 2012. LiveLighter®’s hard hitting toxic fat advertising is currently targeting the consumption of sugary drinks in WA. LiveLighter® has free support, tools and resources available to support local governments, community groups and hospitals to make changes. For more information on how to tackle sugary drinks in your community visit www.livelighter.com.au
Spokespeople available to interview:
Kirstan Corben, Alfred Health
Maria Szybiak, Cancer Council WA’s LiveLighter®
For further information please contact:
Jo Campbell, Cancer Council WA
M: 0411 593 772 E: email@example.com
LiveLighter is a public health education campaign which encourages West Australians to lead healthier lives by changing what they eat and drink, and being more active. Delivered by Cancer Council WA, the LiveLighter campaign is funded by the State Government of Western Australia. For more information visit www.livelighter.com.au