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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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Dental Association and Hāpai Te Hauora call on Education Minister to back ‘water only’ schools

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) and Hāpai Te Hauora are calling on Education Minister Nikki Kaye to back ‘water only’ schools. Last year, The Ministries of Health and Education made an announcement encouraging schools to provide students with water and milk only.

Auckland’s Kelston Boys’ High School celebrated Men’s Health Week - 12-18 June - with a 3.1-kilometre 'walk for water' highlighting the benefits of 'water only'. The walk raised funds for a new water fountain and providing students with water bottles.

Hāpai Te Hauora has stood against sugary drinks in schools, endorsing a consensus statement led by NZDA.

Lance Norman CEO of Hāpai Te Hauora says, “This is an issue that Hāpai has advocated for within our communities for years. Given their high Māori and Pacific roll, we’re especially pleased to see a school like Kelston Boys’ High leading the way. We hope the Minister takes note and demonstrates leadership in supporting water only schools.”

NZDA spokesperson Dr Rob Beaglehole says, “We’re calling on the Minister to make water-only a requirement for all schools. Kelston Boys’ is a great example here, but the Minister could step-up and have an impact on the health of all students.”

Since last June, NZDA dentists have been supporting schools to become ‘water only’.

Hāpai Te Hauora and 12 other public health groups are backing a NZDA-led 7-point Consensus Statement on Sugary Drinks.

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Notes to editors:

The seven actions are;

1) Introducing an icon on drinks indicating, in teaspoons, the amount of sugar in each drink. 

2) Independent monitoring and evaluation of food marketing, with an emphasis on marketing that influences children.

3) Urging the government to adopt WHO limit guidelines on sugar.

4) Encouraging public to switch to water by; introducing warning labels highlighting sugary drinks as risk factors for obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay, and a nationwide social marketing campaigns such as ‘Switch to Water’.

5) Working with schools and the Ministry of Education to introduce ‘water only’ policies.

6) Introducing local council ‘water only’ policies at council facilities and events.

7) Introduction of a ‘sugary drinks’ tax in line with WHO recommendations.

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