Media watch

Australian media headlines - October 2017

Catch up on the most topical issues in sugars and health making the headlines in Australia this month.

1. Local sugar sweetened beverage bans:
Since the NSW government announced that it was removing sugary drinks from its hospitals and health facilities as part of NSW Health's new 'Healthy Choices in Health Facilities policy framework', other facilities and governments around Australia have introduced similar restrictions. YMCA Victoria has stopped selling sugary drinks at its 38 aquatic centres in line with their YMCA healthy food and beverage policy. And Tasmania’s government has declared that soft drinks and other junk food will be phased out of school canteens. Geoff Parker from The Australian Beverages Council has responded to these decisions pointing out that soft drinks contribute less than two per cent of the average person's daily kilojoule intake.

2. Sugar does not affect sleep quality
Sugar before bedtime has been blamed for a range of problems in children, however a new study appears to have debunked the popular theory. Researchers from the University of South Australia studied 287 South Australian schoolchildren aged 8 to 12 years old and examined whether sugar consumption exacerbated the relationship between sleep and behaviour. The study found that whilst a high proportion of children consumed above the recommended amount of daily total sugar, total sugar consumption was not related to behavioural or sleep problems.

3. World Obesity Day
Ahead of World Obesity Day (11th October), a study by Imperial College London and the World Health Organisation published a study looking at BMI and obesity worldwide from 1975 to 2016. The study analysed weight and height measurements from nearly 130 million people aged over five - the largest number of participants ever involved in an epidemiological study. 

The study revealed that during the period from 1975 to 2016, obesity rates in children and adolescents increased from less than 1% in 1975 to nearly 6% in girls and nearly 8% in boys in 2016. The largest increase in the number of obese children and adolescents was seen in East Asia, the high-income English-speaking regions (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK), the Middle East and North Africa.

Lead author Professor Majid Ezzati, of Imperial’s School of Public Health, said in response to these findings;  “We need ways to make healthy, nutritious food more available at home and school, especially in poor families and communities, and regulations and taxes to protect children from unhealthy foods.”

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