Have your say: The future of sugary drinks

Queenslanders are being urged to speak up and voice their opinion on sugar-sweetened beverages, as Cancer Council Queensland and Heart Foundation launch a new state-wide health survey today.

The Everyday Health Survey, Sugar-sweetened beverages, aims to identify consumer habits, determine understanding of the health impacts of sugary drinks, and assess support for proposed regulations to reduce consumption of these products, including marketing restrictions and a 20 per cent levy.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan said the survey gave Queenslanders the opportunity to share their views and be heard.

“We encourage people right across the State to have their say to help health organisations develop new campaigns and advocate for laws that will positively impact the health of Queenslanders,” Ms McMillan said.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are a major source of sugar in the Australian diet.

“We know that these beverages (including soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks and cordial) have little or no nutritional value, provide excess energy, lead to weight gain and increase the risk of a number of chronic diseases – which is why we’ve joined with Heart Foundation to look at how we can reduce consumption.

“The average Australian who drinks a 375ml can of sugary drink a day will consume around 14.6kg of sugar a year. A 600ml bottle a day would equate to 23.3kg of sugar a year.

“Although many factors influence obesity, the latest research indicates sugary drinks play a significant role in driving up obesity rates.

“64 per cent of Queensland adults and 26 per cent of children are overweight and obese.

“Obesity is an established risk factor for some cancers and other chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.”

Ms McMillan said the health organisations wanted to hear from all Queenslanders aged 18 and over, living right across the state.

“This survey will give the public a voice to help us advocate for the right laws and levies and provide targeted strategies to improve the health of Queenslanders,” Ms McMillan said.

“The survey covers topics about personal habits, views on proposed laws such as a sugar levy, restricted marketing to children, and gives participants the opportunity to provide their personal views and thoughts.”

Heart Foundation CEO Stephen Vines said obesity is a major risk factor for developing heart disease and sugary drinks play a big role in the problem.

“A can of soft drink might seem harmless enough but if it has more than 10 teaspoons of sugar and if you are having more than one a day, it can a huge impact on your weight and overall health,” said Mr Vines.

“This survey is a great opportunity to find out what Queenslanders are drinking and what they know about sugary drinks.

“The survey results will help us to advocate on Queenslanders’ behalf to government and the beverages industry.”

Queenslanders aged 18 and over can complete the Everyday Health Survey: Sugar-sweetened beverages, at www.cancerqld.org.au/everydayhealthsurvey by July 31. The survey will take around 10 minutes.

More information about Cancer Council Queensland is available at cancerqld.org.au or Cancer Council’s 13 11 20.

For more information or interviews, please contact:

Laura McKoy,
Public Relations Manager,
Cancer Council Queensland
Phone: (07) 3634 5345
Mobile: 0409 001 171