NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord today proposed a phased-in ban on “sugary” soft drinks in all more than 200 hospitals in NSW.
The ban would extend to all vending machines, restaurants, kiosks and cafeterias within hospitals. However, he said that there would have to be a transition period for existing contracts in those facilities.
Mr Secord said it would be a first step and would serve as a “trial” to how to reduce consumption of sugary soft drinks in NSW.
Mr Secord said he wanted all 15 local health districts to follow Murrumbidgee Local Health District which took the step in April.
Murrumbidgee local health district covers 31 health facilities in Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Temora, Hay and other regional southern NSW towns.
Mr Secord said that sugary soft drinks are the largest contributors of added sugars in Australians’ diets.
The biggest consumers are among males aged 19 to 30 years, consuming up to 1.5 litres per day, while the top 10 per cent of consumers drink more than one litre a day (including diet drinks).
In 2015 Australians purchased around 1.1 billion litres of sugary drinks at a total cost of $2.2 billion, excluding those purchased at fast-food outlets, vending machines and convenience stores.
Diabetes is largely a preventable disease and contributed to an increase in health costs.
On the weekend, the Western Sydney Local Health District predicted that within 15 years , about a third of western Sydney would be living with diabetes or at risk.
Walt Secord said, “This is a small, but significant step. It is about setting an example and hospitals are the best places to start. This is about changing the habits of Australia’s children.”