Taranaki DHB goes Fizz Free
5 October 2015
Taranaki DHB is practising what it preaches by implementing a new Sugar-Sweetened Beverage (SSB) guideline. SSBs such as standard Coca-Cola are no longer available for sale on DHB campuses, with the exception of flavoured milk and fruit juice up to 250ml and artificially sweetened drinks up to 355ml. The guideline will form part of Taranaki DHB’s overall nutrition policy.
Taranaki DHB Acting CEO, Rosemary Clements said, “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages provide no necessary nutrients and are a major contributor to a variety of chronic, life-threatening health issues such as obesity, tooth decay, heart disease, diabetes and raised blood pressure. The high incidence of these preventable illnesses places a significant burden on our entire health system.
“It is our responsibility as Taranaki’s largest healthcare organisation to improve the health of our population and to lead by example in our community. By reducing the availability and consumption of SSBs on our campuses we aim to create an environment that supports healthy choices and contributes to reducing the risk of these long-term health problems,” added Mrs Clements.
All drinks available for sale on DHB campuses are classified via a traffic light system as ‘better choices’ (green), ‘other choices’ (amber) and products that will not be sold’ (red). ‘Green’ drinks include water and diet drinks; ‘amber’ drinks include flavoured milk and fruit juice up to 250ml.
Vending machines across the DHB have been replaced so that they no longer have Coca-Cola branding, and only offer drinks that fit within the guideline requirements. All drinks available for sale in the hospitals’ cafeterias have also been updated to meet these requirements.
Taranaki DHB was already in the late stages of phasing out SSBs when the letter from the Director General of Health, Chai Chuah was received, with the majority of changes already being implemented to provide healthier options to both staff and the public. A project team at Taranaki DHB continues to work closely with its contracted caterers, Medirest to create a healthy food and beverage environment within our hospitals.
According to the latest New Zealand Health Survey published by the Ministry of Health, 31 percent of adults and 19.4 percent of children in Taranaki are clinically obese, which is higher than the national rates of 29.7 percent of adults and 10.4 percent of children.
Maggie Radich, Taranaki DHB Dietit ian said, “World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends our daily added sugar intake from food and beverages should not be more than 10% of our total calorie intake. However, for many people, consumption of SSBs makes a significant contribution to their daily energy intake with little or no nutritional benefit.”
“For example, just one 600ml fizzy drink contains around 16 teaspoons of sugar. If the calories from regular excessive sugar consumption are not burned off, it can lead to long term health complications like obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome,” added Miss Radich.
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Last updated: Monday, October 5, 2015