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Thread: Call for soft drink ban in schools

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    Default Call for soft drink ban in schools

    Call for soft drink ban in schools
    By NAOMI ARNOLD - The Nelson Mail
    Last updated 13:26 12/09/2009

    A prominent Nelson oral health expert is calling for the region to lead New Zealand in banning soft drinks in schools and making them a sugar-free zone.

    Dr Roby Beaglehole last week released a book he co-wrote on the worldwide state of oral health to mark today's World Oral Health Day.

    Published by the World Dental Federation, The Oral Health Atlas is aimed at policy-makers and governments in an effort to encourage prevention of dental decay, rather than treatment.

    Schools needed to ban soft-drink vending machines and sugary drinks from tuckshops and Nelson parents needed to mobilise and demand headmasters act, in an effort to improve the entire country's oral health, obesity and diabetes statistics, he said.

    In February, the Government scrapped the school food guidelines, a move Dr Beaglehole described as a "retrograde step". However, schools say they are still sticking to the guidelines.

    Waimea College, Motueka High School and Nayland College all said they had healthy food policies that banned sugary drinks and lollies.

    Principals Federation president Ernie Buutveld said schools made "quite large strides" when the guidelines originally came into force.

    "Since that's changed we're not aware of any schools that have said `whoopee' and have gone back to what they were doing previously," he said.

    "There hasn't been a step backward, and nobody is reimposing unhealthy options."

    He said schools needed to be aware of the danger of succumbing to pressure from food manufacturers.

    They would have to balance that pressure with what their local community expected, he said.

    "I wouldn't like to encourage them to bend to the will of a company who's marketing vending machines.

    "In New Zealand schools touch wood there aren't many that have that type of distribution mechanism."

    However, Green MP Sue Kedgley, who is due on Tuesday to table a petition in Parliament calling for the reinstatement of school food guidelines, said although some schools were continuing to follow the guidelines there was no longer anything that meant they had to.

    "If we're going to improve the quality of the food our children eat we're going to need to do it across New Zealand, not just in pockets where schools have taken the initiative," she said.

    Dr Beaglehole, who works at Advanced Dental and for Nelson Hospital, said he noticed a big difference in tooth decay rates, particularly in teenagers, when he moved to Nelson from Wellington two years ago.

    "Often when a teenager turns up for a checkup I take X-rays and I can tell they drink a lot of sugary drinks straight away," Dr Beaglehole said. Soft drink companies had "open slather", he said, and there were no restrictions on them.
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    "There's no warnings on the back of Coca-Cola bottles to say `this two-litre bottle contains 54 teaspoons of sugar'."

    Part of the oral health problem was the lack of fluoride in Nelson's water, but he said the problem wasn't just limited to teeth.

    "It's an obesity and diabetes issue as well. There's a common risk factor and that is sugar."

    Dental health wasn't just a matter of brushing and flossing, but rather an issue that governments needed to address, he said.

    "Most dentists drill, fill and bill. Or pull," he said. "I can tell you as a patient eat less sugar and brush with toothpaste, but we're trying to tell government and policy makers that instead of trying to fix all these people's teeth it makes so much more sense to prevent sugar getting into the food chain in the first place."

    His book says New Zealanders doubled their soft drink consumption between 2000 and 2006, and New Zealand was one of a few countries worldwide that in 2007 consumed 45kg or more of sugar per person, ahead of the United States, Britain and Canada.

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    Shows what an expert he is, it's already been proven that most juices such as orange or apple have a much higher sugar content than soft drinks, and also contain high levels of acidity due to the fruit content which attacks your teeth.

    I think people call for bans just to get their name in the papers these days.

    I'm going to call for a ban on ban calling. VOTE TAFFY!
    Taffy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taffy View Post
    I think people call for bans just to get their name in the papers these days.
    With a name like Beaglehole I think I'd rather avoid having my name plastered all over the papers.
    Mother Bear

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