Not everyone is sweet on sugar hit

February 22, 2018

IF YOU were headed down the street to grab a cold can of soft drink or a packet of snakes, and the goodies cost you 10, or 20 per cent more than yesterday, would you buy them?

Well, health professionals all over Australia are proposing such a price rise to help control Australia’s rising obesity and diabetes rates.

It’s called a sugar tax.

Countries such as France, Hungary, Mexico and even some states in the United States have introduced versions of the sugar tax, while Ireland and the United Kingdom will join them this year.

The idea has not received overwhelming support from the government, with Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce labelling it “bonkers mad” in 2016.

However, data from the Bureau of Statistics shows it might be needed, with Australia in the top 10 highest soft drink-consuming countries per capita — and 63.4 per cent of Australian adults being overweight.

Heathcote Health chief executive Dan Douglass said he supported the views of the GREATER Governance Group, which was established to promote good health for the City of Greater Bendigo.

Those views are: “The ultimate change that needs to happen for improved public health is reformulation of all processed foods, to decrease sugar, salt, fat, preservatives and artificial colours.

“Sugar tax, like the tobacco tax and tax on alcohol, is to both deter consumption due to pricing out certain groups of the population and to raise revenue so public health campaigns can work on providing information that the public can base informed choices on.

“If people are informed and begin making choices based on valuing good health over addictive tastes, consumer pressure will eventually dictate that processed food formulation changes.

‘‘Ultimately people need to be encouraged to eat more foods made by the sun, with very little interference from humans.”

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