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The case for a sugar tax? 76% of Aussie kids exceed daily sugar guidelines

By Rachel O'Regan |


Keys2words - 18-month-old toddlers are having teeth pulled because of sugar

  • 76 per cent of Australian kids aged nine to 13 exceed guidelines for daily sugar intake.
  • Sugar-sweetened beverages make up the greatest proportion of added sugar consumption.
  • Is this further proof that we need a sugar tax?

More than half the Australian population eat too much sugar, a study published in the finds.

And the problem is considerably worse for children. Seventy-six per cent of Australian kids aged nine to 13 exceed the World Health Organization’s guidelines for daily added sugar intake. This was followed by 75.9 per cent of 14 to 18 year olds and 70.8 per cent of 4 to 8 year olds.

With the guidelines recommending around six to nine teaspoons of sugar for an adult and three teaspoons for a child (a maximum of 10 per cent of the daily energy intake) it’s clear that the nation’s sweet tooth is out of control.

Where the sugar is coming from.

Not surprisingly, the study shows that the high proportion of added sugar intake comes from sugar-sweetened drinks (a single can of Coke contains more than eight teaspoons).

This was followed by table sugar, then sweet spreads, biscuits, pastries and batter-based products respectively. In other words, 80 to 90 per cent of added sugar intake came from junk food that should be considered occasional foods – certainly not to be consumed every day.

Do we need a holistic sugar tax?

Naturally, Big Soda companies have been kicking up a fuss since the UK Government announced the introduction of a sugar tax last week. In fact, reports say that companies are getting ready to sue the UK Government for discrimination, as the tax doesn’t apply to items like fresh juices or milkshakes.

And while we kind of agree with them – in an ideal world we’d love to see an Australian tax cover different kinds of sugary foods – we’re pleased to see the sugary drinks tax has Big Soda a little scared. If the companies didn’t think the tax would have an impact on sales, they wouldn’t cause such a fuss.

Surely then it’s time to make an impact on our country’s sugar intake and introduce a tax over here?

Should the Australian Government have a harder stance on sugar?

Please be respectful of other participants in the conversation. We'd love you to keep your comments respectful, friendly and relevant. Differences of opinion are welcome, but trolling and abuse of other commentators and the IQS editorial team is not and will result in blacklisting.

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