Bit­ter truth about soft drink

Pilbara News - - News - Cathy O’Leary

One in six Aus­tralian teenage boys is drink­ing more than 50 litres of soft drink a year, re­search re­veals.

A Cancer Coun­cil study found 17 per cent of teenage boys had at least one litre of soft drink a week, com­pared with less than 10 per cent of girls drink­ing the same amount.

It also showed ado­les­cents who drank a lot of soft drink were about twice as likely not to be eat­ing enough fruit and to be con­sum­ing more junk food and en­ergy drinks.

The re­search from the Na­tional Sec­ondary Stu­dents’ Diet and Ac­tiv­ity sur­vey was pub­lished in the jour­nal Pub­lic Health Nutri­tion.

Kathy Chap­man, chair­woman of the coun­cil’s nutri­tion and phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity com­mit­tee, said teenage boys were putting them­selves at higher risk of adult obe­sity, a known cancer risk, as well as other chronic dis­eases.

“A litre of soft drink a week may not sound like much, but over a year it equates to at least 5.2kg of ex­tra su­gar,” she said.

“This doesn’t even ac­count for other su­gar-sweet­ened bev­er­ages such as en­ergy drinks, cor­dials and fruit-flavoured drinks or the su­gar they con­sume in junk food and snacks.

“Su­gar-sweet­ened soft drinks are en­ergy-dense and of­fer no nu­tri­tional value. There is no good rea­son for teens to be con­sum­ing them this of­ten.”

Ms Chap­man said while soft drink con­sump­tion in teenagers had been de­creas­ing, those who drank a lot of it were more likely to be get­ting the prod­ucts through high school can­teens or vend­ing ma­chines.

Aus­tralian Bev­er­ages Coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Geoff Parker said the find­ing was not sur­pris­ing. He said a CSIRO anal­y­sis of data from the Aus­tralian Health Sur­vey also found teenage boys ate more pies, ham­burg­ers, French fries and potato chips.

“Most im­por­tantly, the CSIRO anal­y­sis also found that for boys, there was no clear as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween per cent con­sum­ing soft drinks and the amount they con­sumed, and weight sta­tus,” Mr Parker said.

“Over­weight and obese boys weren’t drink­ing more than un­der­weight or nor­mal-weight boys and there weren’t more of them.”

He said there needed to be a broader de­bate about diet and ex­er­cise rather than fo­cus­ing on soft drinks.

Over a year, a litre of soft drinks a week will equate to at least 5.2kg of ex­tra su­gar.

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