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Cancer Council SA has launched a hard-hitting campaign targeting the highest consumers of sugary drinks: teenagers and young adult men aged 18-29.

The data from the latest South Australian Population Health Survey has shown that South Aussie children aged 15-17 years had the highest daily sugary drink consumption, with 26% of this group consuming soft drink on an average day.

In adults, the highest proportion of sugary drink consumption was in the 18-29-year-old age group, with 21% consuming soft drink on an average day.

  • “We know that regular consumption of sugary drinks in childhood is associated with longer term weight gain, which can be a risk factor for a range of health problems later in life, including heart disease and cancer,” said Cancer Council SA Prevention and Advocacy Manager Christine Morris.

“We also know that if consumed from a young age, sugary drinks can lead to an increased preference for sweet food and drinks that replace nutritious foods in our diets.”

A 2021 study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health found that between 2016 and 2018, advertising expenditure in Australia for sugary drinks exceeded $129M, with sugary drink advertising peaking in the summer months.

“Soft drink companies spend such huge money on advertising yearly, and we want to draw attention to what’s behind industry marketing tactics.”

“Being surrounded by marketing of sugary drinks is good for the beverage industry’s profits, but bad for our community’s health.”

“We empathise with parents and young people who are constantly bombarded with junk food advertising. We want to make sure that they’re given the most up to date information so they can make healthier choices,” she said.

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting the intake of foods and drinks containing added sugars, including confectionery, sugar-sweetened soft drinks, fruit drinks and energy drinks.

A 600ml bottle of soft drink can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar and about 1000 unnecessary kilojoules.

“As we move into summer, families and young people can expect to see an increase in sugary drink ads on their screens.”

“Our message to South Australian young people this summer is think about your sugary drink consumption and choose water – it’s naturally sugar-free since forever”

The campaign targets teenagers and young men through social media, in gaming and on radio.

For more information on Cancer Council SA’s Rethink Sugary Drinks Campaign visit the Cancer Council SA website here:

Notes to editor:

  • Sugary drinks include soft drinks, energy and sport drinks, cordials, flavoured mineral waters, sugar-sweetened teas and fruit and vegetable drinks that contain added sugar.
  • All packaged drinks (with the exception of alcohol) have a nutrition information panel on the label that tells you the amounts of certain nutrients (e.g. carbohydrate, sugar, protein, fat) in that product per serve and per 100ml. For example, a 250ml serve of Coca-Cola (a small glass) contains 27g sugar.