WA records lowest levels of teenage sugary drinks consumption in Australia
A Cancer Council Australia study released today reveals that Western Australian teenagers have the lowest rate of consumption of sugary drinks in the country, with one in 10 WA students (10 per cent) consuming a litre or more of sugary drinks each week, compared to the national average of one in six (17 per cent).
Cancer Council Australia’s National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity (NaSSDA) survey looked at the habits of more than 9,000 students across the country.
While the proportion of Australian secondary school students reporting they consume a litre or more of sugary drinks per week has significantly decreased over time, WA showed the steepest decline down from 20 per cent in 2012-13 to 10 per cent in 2018.
Cancer Council WA’s (CCWA) LiveLighter® Manager Kelly Kennington said the stark difference in WA results coincides with the repeated airing of the LiveLighter® campaign in our state and sends a strong signal that LiveLighter® is working.
“We know from previous studies that LiveLighter® contributes to a reduction in sugary drink consumption in WA adults when the campaign is on air, and we’re now seeing a flow on effect in teens,” Ms Kennington said.
“While the LiveLighter® campaign is targeted at adults, teens are naturally exposed to these marketing messages and benefit when parents make healthier choices at home.”
The research shows on a national level that one in six teenagers consume at least 5.2 kilograms of sugar each year from sugary drinks alone. It found that boys were the biggest consumers of sugary drinks with 22 per cent drinking a litre or more per week, compared to 11 per cent of girls.
Ms Kennington warns that while WA may be performing better than the national average, figures are still concerning.
“Sugary drink consumption is still too high, particularly among kids living in low income households, and given this study indicates that LiveLighter® is having an impact in WA, now is the time to ramp up efforts to accelerate the impact,” Ms Kennington said.
“We are battling with a rise in obesity across Australia that we’ve been unable to halt, and while it’s early days, these results highlight that the WA Government’s long term and sustained investment in this evidence-based campaign is showing dividends and it’s essential this investment continues well into the future.”
In light of these results in Western Australia, CCWA is joining Cancer Council Australia’s call for the federal Government to roll out the LiveLighter® campaign nationally and to introduce a host of measures to reduce the impact of poor diet, including improved regulation for junk food marketing, the introduction of added sugar labelling and a 20 per cent health levy on sugary drinks.
The current LiveLighter® campaign,’ 13 Cancers’, is on screen now in WA and focuses on the contribution of sugary drinks to dangerous toxic fat around the organs which can trigger certain cancers.
- The National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity (NaSSDA) survey is an initiative of Cancer Council Australia that provides regular monitoring of young people’s beliefs and behaviours surrounding diet and physical activity, as well as their experience of food marketing, to inform obesity prevention policy development and evaluate implemented strategies.
- This report summarised the current prevalence of sugary drink consumption among Australian secondary school students and changes over time. It also explored the potential impact of the Western Australian LiveLighter® Sugary Drinks campaign on consumption levels in that state.
- Nationally representative cross-sectional samples of Australian secondary school students in year levels 8 to 11 (ages 12 to 17 years) were surveyed in 2009-10 (n=13,790 from 238 schools), 2012-13 (n=10,309 from 196 schools) and 2018 (n=9,102 from 104 schools) using a self-report web-based questionnaire.
- You can view the report here
- LiveLighter® is funded by the Department of Health and delivered by Cancer Council WA.