Cancer Council Queensland has backed the State Government’s push for a ban on soft drink sales at children’s sporting events, in a move to combat growing rates of childhood obesity.
Chief health officer Jeanette Young is urging parents to call on sports club committees to ban soft drinks at weekend sport, saying consumption after a game reinforces great behavior with bad nutrition.
Around 27 per cent of Queensland children (aged five to 17) are currently overweight or obese, with the figure expected to rise as the state’s obesity crises worsens.
Cancer Council Queensland spokesperson Katie Clift said many parents didn’t realise the amount of sugar in a standard can of soft drink, and what effect that could have on their child’s health.
“One can of soft drink alone can contain up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, and many Queenslanders think it’s acceptable to have one can a day – it isn’t,” Ms Clift said.
“It’s not just soft drinks that are a concern – beverages like energy drinks, fruit drinks, cordial and sports drinks contain large amounts of ‘hidden’ sugar.
“The consumption of these sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with serious health issues such as weight gain and obesity – which can lead to some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart problems.
“While obesity is caused by a range of complex factors, we know that eating a healthy diet and limiting sugary, fatty and salty food and drinks is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy weight.”
Around 16 per cent of children aged 5-17 years consume non-diet soft drink and non-diet flavoured drinks at least daily*.
Cancer Council is calling on Queensland parents to support their children as role models by reducing their personal consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Obesity rates for Queensland adults have doubled in the last 16 years. Currently, around 57 per cent of Queensland adults and about 26 per cent of the state’s children are overweight or obese.
Cancer Council Queensland recommends Queenslanders limit their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and instead drink water or unflavoured low-fat milk.
At least one-third of all cancers are preventable through lifestyle adjustments including eating a healthy diet, being physically active, reducing alcohol intake and maintaining a healthy weight.
Queenslanders are invited to join the QUEST to live a healthier life and reduce their risk of cancer, via quest.org.au.
More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at www.cancerqld.org.au or via Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20.
For more information or interviews, please contact:
Katie Clift, Executive Manager, Media and Spokesperson, Cancer Council Queensland
Ph: (07) 3634 5372 or 0409 001 171
*The Health of Queenslander 2012, Advancing good health, Fourth report of the Chief Health Officer Queensland.