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Consensus Statement on Sugary Drinks

Sugary drinks are no longer a looming public health crisis, but a very real one. By working together, and acting now, we can prevent not only oral health damage, but obesity - a leading risk factor for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

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Kiwis encouraged to Switch to Water to save their smiles

New Zealanders are being challenged to ditch the sugary drinks and Switch to Water for the month of November as part of the New Zealand Dental Association’s annual awareness campaign.

Former Silver Fern netball player Irene van Dyk is fronting the campaign as the National Oral Health Day ambassador for the second year in a row, saying the 30 days Challenge offers a great chance for those wanting to improve their health. 

Every year New Zealanders drink on average 115 litres of soft drink[1] per person which is having a hugely negative effect on Kiwis’ health and wellbeing, leading to tooth decay and contributing greatly to obesity and other health problems. Nearly two thirds of adults and one third of children are either overweight or obese in New Zealand. Last year alone, 29,000 children had one or more teeth removed due to dental decay.

“Switching to water is such a simple solution to a big problem, and I’m passionate about encouraging all New Zealanders to join me in ditching the sugary drinks for the month of November – and beyond - to kick start a healthier lifestyle,” says Irene.

“The everyday drink of choice that’s best for both our bodies and our teeth is the drink that’s cheapest and feely available – water. Certainly during my time as a sportsperson it was really important to stay well hydrated and water is, quite simply, the best way to do that.”

Chief Executive of the New Zealand Dental Association, Dr David Crum says dentists around New Zealand are seeing the negative effects of sugary drinks every day.

“The sugar and acid in fizzy drinks - even the ‘diet’ versions, energy drinks and fruit juices can destroy our teeth, leaving us needing expensive fillings or with gaps where healthy teeth should be.

“We treat thousands of Kiwis each year who are suffering from the effects and, as dentists, we would rather work to prevent this than try to repair the damage it causes. We encourage all kiwis to take up this Challenge and enjoy the health benefits”

Kiwis who are keen to take the Challenge can sign up to enter the draw to win one of four fabulous Fitbit Charge 2. Schools are being encouraged to get behind the Challenge and sign up for the chance to meet Irene in person for a special school visit.

Workplaces too can help their employees kick their sugary drinks habits by taking the 30 days Challenge.  Participating workplaces have a chance to go into a draw to win a Water Purifier, supplied by Aqua Filters, installed at their workplace so they can have access to fresh filtered tap water every day.


Contact: Georgina Maguire, Anthem

021 163 9179

[1] Figures from Euromonitor International 2015

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