Data released during Dental Week shows that daily sugary drink intake for South Australian children has risen by more than 5 per cent in the past year.
The South Australian Population Health Survey, which asked more than 2,000 South Australian children about their sugary drink intake, showed that 13.1 per cent of South Aussie children aged five to nine years drank a soft drink, sports drink or energy drink daily in 2021, compared to 8 per cent in 2020.
Cancer Council SA Accredited Practising Dietitian Karissa Deutrom said these new results are concerning, but unsurprising given the pester power of unhealthy advertising to kids.
“Evidence shows that drinking sweet drinks everyday significantly increases our risk of tooth decay and obesity, and obesity is a risk factor for developing 13 types of cancer. Cancer Council SA wants to reverse the trend we’re seeing towards children consuming sugary drinks.”
“We recognise how difficult it is for parents, as kids are targeted with sugary drink advertising when they watch videos online, via billboards at bus stops, and on television.”
“Switching our drink of choice to tap water is a cheap and simple way we can all improve our health. Plain low-fat milk also provides important nutrients for children such as calcium, which supports healthy teeth.”
Australian Dental Foundation Chairperson and Clinical Ambassador, Dr Greg Miller supports the Cancer Council SA Rethink Sugary Drinks campaign, which aims to encourage people to choose tap water over other drinks.
“Tooth decay is on the rise in Australia, with more than half of all 6-year-olds having some decay in their baby or adult teeth,” he said.
“In 2019-20, the rate of potentially preventable hospitalisations due to dental conditions was highest among children aged five to nine years (8.6 per 1,000 population).
“This reflects the importance of regular dental examination and preventive action to care for your teeth and gums from an early age, which is why the Australian Dental Foundation offers free on-site dental services to children below the age of 18, regardless of their financial status. Parents interested in giving their child a healthy smile for life, should speak to their school to arrange a visit,” he said.
“The Australian Dental Foundation is really excited to visit schools Statewide and work with Cancer Council SA to educate South Aussie families and empower them to make healthy decisions now, which will ensure a healthier, happier future.”