News, Media & FAQs | Media watch
Catch up on the most topical issues in sugars and health making the headlines in New Zealand this month:
1. FIZZ group targets NZ's national obesity crisis
A group of public health experts from the FIZZ group (fighting sugar in soft drinks) have submitted an editorial in the NZ Medical Journal and an accompanying media release, claiming politics are getting in the way of solving New Zealand’s national obesity crisis. The group suggests the plan is based on outdated evidence, favouring industry profits rather than public health, and focuses on energy density rather than concentrated levels of sugar – which they indicate may be more important. The group is calling for more intense measures, including a tax on sugary drinks, marketing restrictions and improvements on front-of-pack labelling.
2. Obesity figures prompt calls for government action
The latest figures from Toi Te Ora Public Health Service sparked further conversation, with the release of the B4 School Check data body size technical report. Figures from the 2014 study showed 1 in 5 four year olds are overweight or obese in the Bay of Plenty. This led to a number of discussions with public health experts, health professionals and locals, urging government to take action, with suggestions matching those above around tighter government regulation.
3. Sugary drinks removed from vending machines
Auckland Council announced the removal of sugary drinks from vending machines across 21 of their leisure centres in the region, as part of a Healthy Families NZ initiative. The policy will mean removing three quarters of current beverage options, equating to 340kg of sugar each year. The initiative is expected to be in place by October, with replacement options including water, unflavoured milk, 100% fruit juice and diluted juices with no added sugar.