AMA launches sugar tax cut campaign 10 June 2021 The Australian Medical Association wants a tax on sugary drinks to tackle chronic disease and make Australia the healthiest country in the world. The AMA also estimates the tax would raise about $814 million annually, which could be spent on other preventative activities. It comes after Diabetes Australia recommended that the Australian Government introduce a health levy on sugar-sweetened drinks, as part of a comprehensive approach to reducing rates of overweight and obesity and reducing the impact of type 2 diabetes. You can read the position statement here. Sugar-sweetened drinks are associated with weight gain and obesity which is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and certain cancers. Beverages are the largest source of free sugars in the Australian diet. One in two Australians exceed the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation to limit free sugars to 10% of daily intake or the equivalent of 14 teaspoons of sugar. AMA President, Dr Omar Khorshid said that Australia lags comparable nations in health outcomes and disease prevention, and it was time for action to reduce consumption of sugar-filled drinks. “More than 2.4 billion litres of sugary drinks are consumed every year in Australia. That’s enough to fill 960 Olympic sized swimming pools,” Dr Khorshid said. In Australia, young people aged 2-16 are the highest consumers of sugar sweetened drinks, along with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and socially disadvantaged groups. Diabetes Australia CEO, Professor Greg Johnson says a levy could have major health and economic benefits for Australia. “A levy would reduce consumption and the revenue generated could support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent type 2 diabetes and address childhood obesity,” he said. “Over 25 years, a tax on sugary drinks could mean 16,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, 4,400 fewer cases of heart disease and 1,100 fewer cases of stroke. “Anything that makes sugary drinks a less appealing product and encourages Australians to consume less of them, and healthier like water, is a step in the right direction.” The tax proposed in the AMA’s report A tax on sugar-sweetened beverages: Modelled impacts on sugar consumption and government revenue would raise the retails price of the average supermarket sugary drink by 20 per cent. Key points: · 20% tax on sugary drinks to reduce the rates of diabetes, obesity and heart conditions. · 2.4 billion litres of sugary drinks are consumed every year, enough to fill 960 Olympic sized swimming pools. · Over 25-years, the AMA estimates the tax could result in 16,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, 4,400 fewer cases of heart disease and 1,100 fewer cases of stroke. · The sugar tax could generate $814 million annually to go towards preventative activities.