Fizzy drinks in firing line | POLL

East Grampians Health Service chief executive Nick Bush.EAST Grampians Health Service chief executive Nick Bush has called for an increase in the purchase price of fizzy drinks.

It follows a new push by VicHealth to get Victorians to switch from sugary drinks to water for 30 days and track their progress.

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services (2013) shows 17.9 per cent of people living in the Ararat Rural City area are daily consumers of soft drink.

“There is a big correlation between fizzy drink and obesity,” Mr Bush said.

“It’s been a real focus of ours to reduce soft drink consumption from the Biggest Loser coming to Ararat to now.

“I’m of the view that the purchase price of sugary beverages should be raised as a general deterrent for people that drink them on a daily basis.

“It happens in other countries and it’s had positive results inreducingobesity levels.”

He said companies that sold fizzy drink were very good at marketing their products as ‘healthy’.

“A lot of the marketing these companies do involves consumers of theproducts doing exercise and fitness-related activities,” he said.

“You can exercise all you like, but if you drink one 600mL bottle with all that sugar, you’re probably going to have to go back out and get active all over again.Staying healthy is as muchabout a balanced diet as exercise.”

Mr Bush said the health service was continuing to work closely with Ararat Rural City Council on preventative health initiatives.

“We recently approached the department with the aim of securing specific data fromthe period of the Biggest Loser coming to now to see whether there has been an improvement in the generalhealth of people living inArarat,” Mr Bush said.

“Unfortunately, we were told it might be five to six years before we saw any change in the data.

“It’s disappointing because that data has the potential to really shape the structure of the health service moving forward. We could start to move resources from treatment to preventative health.”

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