Tax sugary drinks to help our children

More and more New Zealand children are being hospitalised for tooth decay issues, and the Government needs to implement a sugary drinks tax to help turn this around, the Green Party said today.

Ministry of Health figures show the rate of hospitalisation for dental caries (or basic tooth decay) for young people has increased 13 per cent from 2008-09 to 2013-14. 6471 young people were hospitalised for tooth decay in 2012-14.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that having too much sugar is a factor in more and more children being hospitalised for tooth decay. It’s time for the Government to stand up to the junk food industry and implement a sugary drinks tax,” Green Party health spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

“The World Health Organisation this week released a report calling for countries to implement a sugary drinks tax to combat obesity and tooth decay.

“If the Government taxes sugary drinks, they can help children’s teeth and help reduce obesity in New Zealand.

“We need a targeted tax to reduce consumption and pay for the damage sugary drinks are doing to the health of our children.

“Making children’s teeth and the obesity problem all about personal choice, which the Government advocates, is proven not to work.

“We need to put the health and wellbeing of children ahead of the interests of the junk food industry,” Ms Genter said. 

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