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A Cancer Council SA campaign is calling on South Aussies to rethink sugary drinks in a bid to counteract the peak advertising by soft drink companies over the summer months.

South Australian Population Health Survey data shows that in 2020, approximately 15 per cent of South Australian adults and approximately 12 per cent of South Australian children consumed soft drink daily – figures that have remained unchanged in the past three years.

In addition, the data shows that approximately 6 per cent of adults consumed at least half a litre of soft drink daily, compared to approximately 3 per cent of children.

A study published earlier this year 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, despite evidence showing that regular consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is associated with long-term weight gain, a risk factor for a number of health problems and some types of cancer.

“Being surrounded by marketing of sugary drinks is good for the beverage industry’s profits, but bad for our community’s health,” Cancer Council SA Community Education Coordinator Diem Tran said.

“While there is no evidence to suggest a high sugar diet increases your cancer risk directly, we do know that drinking sugar sweetened beverages is one of the main contributing factors to weight gain, a risk factor for up to 13 different cancers.”

The World Health Organisation recommends limiting energy from free sugars to less than 10 per cent of your daily energy intake (around 12 teaspoons for average adults). A 600ml bottle of soft drink contains 16 teaspoons of sugar and about 1000 unnecessary kilojoules.

The campaign, which launched today, urges South Aussies to avoid sugary drinks that provide unnecessary kilojoules, and drink water instead.

“Sugary soft drinks are packed full of ‘empty kilojoules’ which means they contain a lot of sugar and have no nutritional value,” Ms Tran said.

“Water is refreshing, it’s a cost-effective option when refilling from the tap and is naturally sugar free”

For more information on the campaign, visit the Cancer Council SA website.

Interviews can be arranged on request by contacting Natasha Baugh on 0400 855 244 or sending an email

Notes to editor:

  • Sugary drinks include soft drinks, energy drinks, cordials, sports drinks and fruit 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.
  • If consumed from a young age, SSBs can result in an increased preference for sweet food and drinks, displacing nutritious foods from the diet.