- The Australian federal government has faced new calls to introduce a sugar tax by 2019.
- An eight-point plan called “Tipping The Scales” was proposed by a group of 34 leading health experts and community groups who want to tackle the rising obesity problem.
- An estimated $8.6 billion was spent between 2011 and 2012 on costs related to obesity.
We’ve covered time and time again when Australia has toyed with the idea of a sugar tax.
But now, we’re hoping that calls from a wide range of experts will push the tax over the line.
A whopping 34 health experts from a wide range of groups including the Obesity Policy Coalition, the Cancer Council, the Heart Foundation and Nutrition Australia, as well as several universities and hospitals, have drawn up an eight-point plan to urgently address obesity rates.
“The policies we have set out to tackle obesity aim to not only reduce morbidity and mortality, but also improve wellbeing, bring vital benefits to the economy and set Australians up for a healthier future.”
So, what are these eight points? Turns out, it’s not all about a sugar tax. Let’s break some of them down…
Earlier this year we covered how Britain said goodbye to junk food advertising directed at kids in an attempt to lower their obesity rates. Aussie wants to follow in Britain’s footsteps with a restriction on free-to-air TV ads between 5:30pm and 9:30pm.
The proposal suggests a levy of 20 per cent be added to all non-alcoholic drinks that contain added sugar. A recent Aussie study found that this levy could reduce consumption by 12.6 percent and help reduce obesity by 2.7 per cent in men and 1.2 per cent in women. This would see Australia join other countries such as Ireland, France, South Africa and Mexico who have already successfully implemented variations of the tax. Mexico, for example, reported a nearly 10 percent drop in sales and estimate that this could prevent nearly 190,000 diabetes cases in the next 10 years.
When Hungary introduced their sugar tax back in 2011, 40 per cent of manufacturers reformulated their products to cut out sugar. This new proposal calls for the reformulation of processed foods, with clear nutrient targets to encourage manufacturers to reduce the amount of sugar, fat and salt in their products. Win, win.
Ah, the old Health Star Rating. Back in July, we delved into what the Health Star Rating really means, and one issue with the current system is that, as it’s not compulsory, it’s difficult to compare products reliably. Making the system mandatory would greatly improve the system and allow consumers to make informed decisions quickly.
The other points in the proposal include developing a national active transport strategy, funding weight-related public education campaigns, establishing a national obesity taskforce and lastly, developing and monitoring national diet, physical activity and weight guidelines.
Phew, let’s get started!
Even though Malcolm Turnbull has already rejected this new push for a sugar tax, we’re hoping the Aussie government seriously considers this new eight-point plan and finally takes some action. What do you think of the proposal?