Wa­tered down sugar pledge

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

IT seems in­cred­u­lous that the clos­est the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has come to re­duc­ing the Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion’s sugar in­take is to en­cour­age peo­ple to try and get fit­ter rather than tar­get the food man­u­fac­tur­ers who largely cre­ate the is­sue from the start.

A re­cent pledge by the Aus­tralian Bev­er­ages Coun­cil to re­duce sugar across its prod­uct range was scoffed at by the Aus­tralian Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion, as the main cul­prits of high-sugar level drinks would still be avail­able.

A sim­i­lar tax was in­tro­duced in Bri­tain last year where com­pa­nies have agreed to re­duce sugar con­tent in soft drinks by 20 per cent over five years.

There have been sim­i­lar half-hearted at­tempts to re­duce over­all con­sump­tion, but par­tic­u­larly young peo­ple’s in­take of pop­u­lar take­away food brands, with ma­jor out­lets now of­fer­ing a wider range of health­ier al­ter­na­tives and far clearer la­belling on pack­ag­ing and re­tail out­lets ex­plain­ing the con­tents of each meal.

So why the soft glove ap­proach to high­sugar drinks?

It wasn’t that long ago there was much made about leg­is­la­tion to pro­hibit or re­duce gam­bling ad­ver­tis­ing dur­ing live sport­ing events yet it still seems to go un­abated with odds on broad­cast matches pre­sented by celebrity sports­peo­ple be­fore dur­ing and af­ter tele­vised sport­ing events.

Surely there is a role for gov­ern­ment to pro­tect view­ers, par­tic­u­larly young peo­ple, against the po­ten­tial im­pact such ad­ver­tis­ing will have on them, nor­mal­is­ing what has proven to be a grow­ing ill in mod­ern so­ci­ety.

The same with try­ing to re­duce the in­take of food and drinks con­tain­ing ex­ces­sively high sugar con­tent.

Fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments have played a heavy hand in try­ing to re­duce smok­ing yet the war against obe­sity and gam­bling seems to have been over­looked.

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