Sweet enough: educating kids on the ill-effects of sugary drinks

25 June 2019

Do Australian children know how much sugar is in their favourite drinks? 

Likely not, with Australia’s Oral Health Tracker, a joint initiative of the ADA and Australian Health Policy Collaboration, revealing that 70.3% of children aged 9-13 years are consuming too much sugar while 73.1% of their 14-18-year-old counterparts are doing the same.

In light of these figures, and saturation-level marketing of sugary drinks to young people, Rethink Sugary Drink, a partnership between a number of key health and community organisations including the ADA, has launched its annual Critics’ Choice competition (CCC) which aims to encourage young Australians to switch from good oral and general health-damaging sugary drinks to water.

Highlighting the damage caused by sugary drinks, the CCC has been designed to be integrated into a school’s curriculum (the CCC aligns with the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education (years 5–10), providing teachers with a selection of 11 ads from around the world that highlight the health impacts of consuming sugary drinks, which students can watch before voting for the most effective campaign.

Running throughout Term 3 of the 2019 school year, CCC is designed to kick off discussions about the way these drinks affect the oral and general health of young people, with the aim being to strip away the gloss and glamour of the ads kids see day-to-day and look at the reality of the drinks being consumed.

When the students vote, their school goes into the running to win one of three sports vouchers worth $500, an important step towards kids adopting an overall healthier lifestyle.

Craig Sinclair, Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria, a partner of Rethink Sugary Drink, said Critics’ Choice provides the perfect opportunity for Australian kids to learn the long-term health effects of regular sugary drink consumption.

“No young person should look back on their childhood and remember the impact that came as a result of drinking too many sugary drinks. They’re really not worth losing your teeth over,” Mr Sinclair said.

To find out more about the Critics’ Choice competition, go to Rethink Sugary Drink