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Sugar coated: Health experts condemn soft drink Christmas marketing campaign


Morgan Liotta


12/12/2018 1:42:29 PM

Health experts and local communities have criticised Coca-Cola for its plan to dispense free sugary drinks as Christmas ‘gifts’.

Coca-Cola’s Christmas truck tour involves handing out free drinks to the public to ‘get into the spirit of giving’. (Image: Sam Wundke)
Coca-Cola’s Christmas truck tour involves handing out free drinks to the public to ‘get into the spirit of giving’. (Image: Sam Wundke)

Health and community organisations behind the Rethink Sugary Drink campaign are calling on Coca-Cola to stop its Christmas truck tour, which, in partnership with the Salvation Army, involves handing out free drinks to the public to ‘get into the spirit of giving’.
 
Rethink Sugary Drink calls Coca-Cola’s plan as ‘a shameless ploy to leverage Christmas joy for the purpose of marketing their sugary drinks to children and families, putting profits above Australians’ health’.
 
With recent debates on sugar tax and research showing the detrimental effects of excess sugar consumption on young people’s health – including obesity, tooth decay and increased risk of diabetes – Rethink Sugary Drink aims for a preventive health approach to educate the community on reducing sugar consumption.
 
Associate Professor Matthew Hopcraft, CEO of the Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch and a Rethink Sugary Drink partner, said Coca-Cola’s Christmas campaign ‘irresponsibly plays on the vulnerability of young Australians’.
 
‘I’ve seen firsthand the devastating impact tooth decay has on the health, nutrition, social and emotional wellbeing of kids and their families,’ he said.
 
‘At a time when tooth decay is one of the most prevalent global health problems affecting our children, there is no justification for Coca-Cola to run this campaign. These communities need support, not fizzy drinks.’
 
Rethink Sugary Drink is calling on action for public education campaigns supported by Australian governments to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary drink consumption, as well as comprehensive mandatory restrictions by state governments on the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages (and increased availability of free water) in schools, workplaces, healthcare settings, sport and recreation facilities and other public places.
 
The RACGP is broadly supportive of a tax on sugar, with Immediate Past RACGP President Dr Bastian Seidel acknowledging the necessary partnerships between governments needed to help tackle the issue.
 
‘Big soft drink companies should voluntarily reduce sugar content in carbonated beverages,’ he previously told newsGP. ‘This could happen now and would be to the benefit of all.’



children’s health obesity Rethink Sugary Drink sugar tax





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