Media release

ACT Government goes in hard on sugary soft drinks

The AMA welcomes the ACT Government’s decision to ban the sale of fruit juice and soft drinks in Canberra public schools.

The ban will apply to vending machines by the end of Term One, with a total ban in place by the end of the 2014 school year.

AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said today that the ban sends a very strong signal to improve the health and wellbeing of children attending government schools in the ACT.

“The AMA urges non-Government ACT schools to follow suit and encourages other State and Territory governments to introduce similar strong public health measures in their schools,” Dr Hambleton said.

“Soft drinks and fruit juices can be enjoyed occasionally as a treat, but there is no doubt that consuming these products daily is inconsistent with a healthy diet. Positioning these in schools so that they are available everyday sends the wrong message

“Obesity is a major public health issue in Australia and it is important that healthy diet and exercise messages are conveyed to our young people, including in the school environment.

“The ACT Government has done a great job to show leadership in reducing the alarming rates of overweight and obesity in our young people.

“National figures confirm that around a quarter of Australian children are overweight or obese.

“Initiatives such as the sugary drinks ban need to be followed up with action from all governments to reduce the targeted marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children, simplify food labelling, and increase opportunities for physical activity among all children and adults,” Dr Hambleton said.

A recent Working Paper released by the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare identifies Type 2 diabetes in Australian children and young people identifies as an area of concern. Type 2 diabetes has typically been a disease of older people but is now occurring among children. Overweight and obesity is a known modifiable risk factor in the development of Type 2 diabetes.


21 February 2014


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