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Ed Sheeran

Government action needed to give campaign fizz

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A Maori public health organisation is calling on the Government to protect communities from excessively highly-sugared drinks.

Hapai Te Hauora is promoting a Fizz Free Whanau Challenge to encourage people to give up fizzy drinks for January.

Campaign manager Kera Sherwood-O’Regan says the risk to the community is confirmed by a Waikato University study has found that sugary drinks in New Zealand contain proportionally more sugar than their overseas counterparts.

The average New Zealand soft drink or juice examined in the study contained 5 to 6 teaspoons of sugar, compared to 3 to 4 teaspoons in the UK.

Sugary drinks are a key driver of obesity, dental problems, and other health issues.

Ms Sherwood-O’Regan says it’s time to look beyond the ingredients of fizzy drinks and start looking at the system that has enabled these drinks and the companies that make them to take so much from communities.

"Many whanau are absolutely hooked on these drinks - suffering headaches and withdrawal symptoms while trying to give them up - yet they are represented on billboards and shopfronts as some kind of essential component of the kiwi summer.”

You can take the challenge at www.fizzfree.org.nz and join your community to #DitchTheFizz.

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