LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Canegrowers group responds to push for sugary drinks tax

Dear Editor,

The increase in obesity can be attributed to our modern lifestyle - not a single ingredient such as sugar.

While many will acknowledge Australia is facing a significant challenge in tackling increasing rates of obesity within the community, I am opposed to the introduction of a sugar (soft drink) tax in Australia.

Demonising one ingredient by singling it out as the root of all dietary issues, is a simplistic and therefore dangerous response to this modern health problem.

The increase in obesity can be attributed to our modern lifestyle of eating more and moving less - not a single ingredient such as sugar.

Sugar intake in Australia has declined since 1995 and Australians come close to meeting the World Health Organisation recommendation for added sugars (mean usual intake was 10.9 per cent of daily energy consumed compared to the 10 per cent recommended).

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that soft drink consumption in Australia is falling,  so it is illogical to suggest that a tax on this single product category could alone have an effect on obesity.

The proportion of people consuming sugar-sweetened beverages dropped from 43 per cent in 1995 to 34 per cent in 2011-12 yet obesity rates are increasing.

CANEGROWERS supports empowering people with information to make healthy food choices across all food categories and respects that they have a responsibility to make choices for themselves.

CANEGROWERS is a strong supporter of the work done by governments in Australia to provide information about a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regime and we want to see this work continue to ensure that we work as a community to turn the tide on the obesity challenge.

Kerry Latter, 

Chief Executive Officer,

CANEGROWERS MACKAY

Queensland

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