05 August 2019
Latest data from Cancer Council SA shows that one in three South Australian teenagers are still drinking three or more sugar sweetened beverages per week, despite the health risks.
The data released today to coincide with the start of Dental Health Week (5 – 11 August), surveyed 1,342 South Australian teenagers about their sugary drink consumption in the last seven days.
The data showed 33 per cent of South Australian teenagers reported drinking three or more sugar sweetened beverages in the week leading up to the survey.
Cancer Council SA Community Education Coordinator Diem Tran said the results were concerning and urged young people to reconsider their drink choices.
“Evidence from randomised controlled trials and prospective studies shows that regular consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is associated with long-term weight gain,” she said.
“We also know that drinking sugar sweetened beverages from a young age can enhance preferences for sweet food and drinks and displace more nutritious options and that overweight and obese children are more likely to stay obese into adulthood.”
“The World Health Organisation recommends limiting energy from free sugars to 6-12 teaspoons a day. With one can of soft drink containing up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, these results show that our teenagers are at risk of consuming over and above their recommended sugar intake, which can increase their risk of chronic disease later in life.”
To help combat teenagers appetite for sugar sweetened beverages, Cancer Council SA has joined forces with the Australian Dental Outreach Foundation to launch a new educational resource aimed at changing behaviours.
Dr Greg Miller from the Australian Dental Outreach Foundation hopes that through joining forces with Cancer Council SA, the two organisations can work together to drive down teenage consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.
“Excessive sugar consumption also has significant negative impacts on dental health. Tooth decay in children is on the rise in Australia, with more than half of all 6-year-olds having some decay in their baby or adult teeth,” he said.
“We’ve also seen declining dental health in teenagers, with dental decay being the highest cause of acute, preventable hospitalisations in children under 15 years.
“In 2016–17, the rate of hospital separations for dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic (per 1,000 population) was highest in those aged 15–24 years (15.7 per 1,000 population), which reflects the high sugar consumption amongst this age group,” he said.
“We’re really excited to be working with Cancer Council SA to educate our young people on how to make healthy decisions now, which will ensure that they reduce their future risk of long-term health impacts.”
The newly developed resource will be distributed to over 10,000 school children across the state through Dental Outreach’s Grow Up Smiling program, providing young people with an opportunity to learn about how much sugar can be found in the most commonly consumed drinks.
For more information and to view the resource visit cancersa.org.au/cut-my-risk/i-want-to-cut-my-risk/rethink-sugary-drinks.