Sweet excess: FIZZ calls for sugar tax in New Zealand

Wednesday, 30 October, 2019

Sweet excess: FIZZ calls for sugar tax in New Zealand

Scientists, dentists, doctors and the beverage industry are meeting at the sixth annual symposium of FIZZ (Fighting Sugar in Soft Drinks) on 31 October to discuss the impact sugar has on New Zealand health.

Researchers and public health doctors of FIZZ are pushing to stop sales of sugary drinks because of the drinks’ negative impact on health, ranging from obesity, type-2 diabetes and rotten teeth, to gout, cardiovascular disease and premature death. FIZZ strongly advocates for the introduction of a tax on sugary drinks, and to remove them from school cafeterias.

“The UK has done it, so why can’t we?” said Dr Simon Thornley, NZ Beverage Guidance Panel member, public health physician and senior lecturer.

University of Auckland senior lecturer, FIZZ founder and Chair Dr Gerhard Sundborn said that while the line-up for the symposium was exciting, it was disappointing that government representatives invited to the event did not indicate that they would attend.

Held at the Fale Pasifika at the University of Auckland, the symposium will feature speakers such as Australian addiction neuroscientist Dr Selena Bartlett on the research that led her to evidence of the highly addictive nature of sugar and Australian sports medicine expert Dr Peter Brukner, who will discuss the links between sugar consumption and the current non-communicable disease epidemic.

New Zealand dentists Dr Katie Bach and Dr Rob Beaglehole will address the challenges of long dental waiting lists and removing the teeth of young children who have been raised on sugary drinks. Jill Ford of Refill NZ will outline the link between the movement against sugary drinks and minimising the use of single-use plastics, while ASH adviser Ben Youdan will compare the similarities between ASH’s anti-tobacco advocacy and the battle to stop food producers’ use of excess sugar in food.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Oleksandr

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