Leading health groups congratulate QLD Government for tackling sugary drinks in hospitals, health centres

3 August 2018

The 19 leading health and community organisations behind Rethink Sugary Drink have applauded the Queensland State Government’s announcement to limit sugary drinks and junk food in government owned hospitals and health care facilities by the end of the year.

The plan, led by the Queensland Government, will also see restrictions on junk food advertising around children in schools, sports groups and public transport hubs.

Craig Sinclair, Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria, a partner of Rethink Sugary Drink, said sugary drinks and junk food have no place in hospitals or health services and is calling on other Australian states to follow in Queensland’s footsteps.

“Sugary drinks, like sports drinks, soft drinks and energy drinks, are a contributor to tooth decay, weight gain, obesity, and serious long-term health problems, but ironically they are readily available in our hospitals and health facilities,” Mr Sinclair said.

With more than 11 million Australians overweight or obese, hospitals and health services are treating increasing numbers of patients with weight-related chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

“It simply does not make sense for hospitals and health services to be offering these high-sugar drinks which have no place in a healthy diet,” Mr Sinclair said.

“Health services should mirror the healthy diets their own doctors, nurses and other health professionals encourage people to follow by providing and promoting healthy drinks.”

“It’s fantastic to see the Queensland Government taking the proactive step of limiting the sale of sugary drinks across the state. We want to see more health facilities commit to reducing sugary drink sales so we can help reduce the amount of sugar being consumed by Australians and help improve their overall health.”

The Rethink Sugary Drink alliance recommends the following actions to tackle sugary drink consumption:

  • A 20 per cent health levy on sugary drinks
  • A public education campaign supported by Australian governments to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary drink consumption
  • Restrictions by Australian governments to reduce children's exposure to marketing of sugarsweetened beverages, including through schools and children's sports, events and activities
  • Comprehensive mandatory restrictions by state governments on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages (and increased availability of free water) in schools, government institutions, children's sports and places frequented by children
  • Development of policies by state and local governments to reduce the availability of sugarsweetened beverages in workplaces, government institutions, health care settings, sport and recreation facilities and other public places.

Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Australian Dental Association, Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Health Services Victoria, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Diabetes Australia, Healthier Workplace WA, Kidney Health Australia, LiveLighter, Obesity Policy Coalition, Parents’ Voice, The Public Health Association Australia,  The Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and the YMCA to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption.