Media Release
13 November 2012

Australian Beverages Council responds to Chief Health Officer’s calls for parents to ban children from consuming soft drinks and fruit juices.

The Australian Beverages Council, representing the Australian non-alcoholic beverage industry, has responded to the recent comments by Queensland’s Chief Health Officer that encourages parents to ban their children from having soft drinks and fruit juice.

“Energy balance – the amount of kilojoules consumed from the total diet and that expended through physical activity, is the important issue. The comments from Ms Young for parents to ban their children from having soft drinks or fruit juice detracts from the issue of overweight and obesity from the real dietary issue – lowering energy (kilojoule) intake from any energy source – fat, protein, starch or sugars. We are disappointed that Queensland’s top health official is taking a simplistic approach to the complex issue of overweight and obesity” said the Council’s CEO, Mr Geoff Parker.
The last survey of children’s diet, nutrition and physical activity (2007 Kids Eat, Kids Play) found that beverages including soft drinks contributed a relatively small and declining proportion of total energy intake amongst Australian children:

o Total beverage category (non-alcoholic, non-dairy) was a relatively small contributor to total energy intake in children and has declined from 7.4% in 1995 to 5.4% in 2007

o Sugar-sweetened soft drinks contributed 1.6% of total energy intake in 2007 which is half that back in 1995 (3.3%).

“For fruit juices, the research clearly shows that kids who have a small glass of juice a day have better overall diets. For many fussy eaters, a small glass can also contribute to meeting a fruit serve. A ‘ban’ on fruit juice or any other beverage for that matter is a simplistic, knee jerk reaction that fails to address the bigger issue. The industry has shown a responsible approach to be part of any solution framework through voluntary front of pack labelling, reducing serving sizes, reformulating to low or no calories, a voluntary ban on marketing to kids under 12 and compliance with school canteen guidelines.
“The industry produces a range of hydration options to suit everybody’s lifestyle, including kids, and all beverages can be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet supported by regular physical activity” Mr Parker said.

Media contact: Geoff Parker – CEO, Australian Beverages Council, Mobile: 0407 646 195