Whether it fizzes, gives you wings or opens happiness – the truth is, it’s packed with sugar and it could be causing serious health problems in children.
Figures released late last year show 1 in 6 Queensland kids are drinking at least one sugar-sweetened beverage daily. That’s not limited to soft drink either – it includes energy drinks, fruit drinks, cordial and sports drinks too.
The 2012 Queensland Chief Health Officer’s Report revealed 16 per cent of children aged 5-17 years consumed non-diet soft drink and non-diet flavoured drinks daily. The prevalence of daily non-diet soft drink consumption also, unfortunately, increased with age.
We’ve all seen the piles of sugar cubes stacked up to represent just how much sugar can be packed into these sweetened beverages. For the average can of soft drink – it can be up to 10 teaspoons.
Consuming sugar-sweetened beverages leads to increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain or obesity. Being overweight increases the risk of a range of chronic diseases including some cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
What’s concerning is that targeted marketing has misled us to believe that sugar-sweetened beverages are an acceptable addition to a daily diet. They aren’t.
In fact, consuming just one can of soft drink every day, on top of your usual diet, could lead to an almost 7kg extra weight gain in just one year.
With more than a quarter of QLD children aged 5 to 17 weighing in as overweight or obese, we need to cut back the sugar to help their long-term health.
Cancer Council Queensland recommends adults and children limit their consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and instead drink water or unflavoured low-fat milk.
It might seem like a small change to make, but it will have lasting impacts on the health of your family for the long-term.
Visit www.cancerqld.org.au or call the Cancer Council Helpline 13 11 20 for more information.