Media watch

Australian media headlines - June 2017

Tax modeling studies in the Australian population

Study  1. A 20% sugar tax modelling study carried out by the Cancer Council NSW gained media traction during June. The study quantified the productivity impacts of an additional 20% tax on SSBs in Australia and used a multi-state lifetable Markov model to assess the potential impact of an additional 20% tax on SSBs on total lifetime productivity in the paid and unpaid (mainly household work, volunteer, and community work) sectors of the Australian economy. The study estimated that a sugary drinks tax would reduce the number of people with obesity by 1.96% of the entire population which would result in productivity gains for the economy.

Study 2: The second modelling study by Deakin University’s Global Obesity Centre differed by modelling a 20% sugar tax based on different socioeconomic groups. The study estimated that a tax is likely to accrue more health-care savings for the lower SES groups, and that the differences in costs spent between SES groups is minimal.

Sugar Sweetened Beverage ban

As part of the Healthy Food And Drink In NSW Health Facilities For Staff And Visitors Framework, the NSW government announced a ban on hospital cafes, staff kiosks, vending machines, convenience stores, other leased retail premises and catering services from selling sugary drinks.

Sugary drinks are classified under the framework as drinks with no nutritional value and which have any sugars added during processing (this excludes milk drinks). Examples of sugary drinks are soft drinks, some flavoured waters, fruit drinks, cordials, iced teas, energy drinks, and sports drinks.

Under the Food and Drink Benchmark, there are four focus areas including product availability, product quality, product size and marketing. These aim to promote and increase the availability of healthy food and drink options and decrease the availability of unhealthy food and drinks. In addition to the sugary drinks ban, all key packaged food and drinks must have a Health Star Rating of 3.5 stars or more, some everyday and occasional packaged food and drinks must meet portion size recommendations and only everyday food and drinks can be placed in prominent location and advertised or promoted. 

Campaigns

SugarByHalf - Peter Brukner, former sports doctor to the Australian Cricket Team gained coverage on his Sugar by Half campaign after calling for sports clubs to ban sports drinks. The Sugar by Half campaign plans to “combat childhood obesity and the sugardemic” by reducing added sugar consumption by half.

Six Spoons in June - Damon Gameau launched a ‘6 spoons in June’ campaign and was promoting the ‘That Sugar App’ based on WHO conditional recommendation for sugar intake. The APP was produced through their partnership with The George Institute for Global Health, and is powered by their extensive database of food and drink products + a selection of product information from the NUTTAB 2010 database (published by Food Standards Australia New Zealand). 

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