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Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition responds to new research showing a link between higher consumption of sugary drinks and increased risk of cancer

Thursday 11 July, 2019

As new data research published in the British Medical Journal shows a link between high consumption of sugary drinks and increased risk of cancer, the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) is calling on government to regulate the marketing and availability of these drinks.

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said the findings reflected those from a similar Australian study conduced by Cancer Council Victoria and the University of Melbourne, adding to the mounting evidence that the high levels of sugar in these drinks are contributing to cancer, and other chronic diseases.

“Sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in Australians’ diets, and these drinks are already known to be a cause of obesity, which greatly increases the risk of 13 types of cancer.”

Ms Martin noted that governments have a role to play in regulating the marketing and availability of these drinks.

“It’s virtually impossible to escape the enormous amount of marketing, price promotions and sponsorship by sugary drink companies. Young people drink more of these drinks than anyone else and corporations have created this demand, and continue to bombard them with marketing on TV, social media and public transport."

"We need government controls around unhealthy marketing to protect children and young people from its pervasive influence. We also need to take sugary drinks out of schools, recreation facilities and hospitals to protect people and promote healthier options.”

“A 20% health levy on sugary drinks would deter people from these cheap and very unhealthy drinks. Funds raised could be used to promote healthy eating in our community, in time reducing the cancer burden and associated health costs.”