Call to ban sugary drinks in schools

By Regan Paranihi

The Māori public health entity, Hāpai Te Hauora, is calling for a universal ban on the sale of sugary drinks in schools.

Children who consume more sugar than the recommended daily intake can suffer a number of health issues such as diabetes and obesity as a result.

Janell Dymus, General Manager Māori Public Health at Hāpai Te Hauora believes that in order to face the issue schools need to jump on board and ban unhealthy drinking options.

"It is time to take serious action and protect our children from sugary drinks.  The only drink we need available to our children is water.  If we want them to be healthy, schools should have policies banning the sale of sugary drinks".

In order to ban the sale of sodas and unhealthy juices in schools, Dymus says the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education need to work closely together.

"The Ministry of Health is currently developing a strategy for child and youth health.  A water-only policy for New Zealand state schools is an obvious area of collaboration which will support the goals of both public agencies.”

Dymus says schools that allow sugary drinks promote the idea that those drinks are just as good as water.

“We cannot expect children to prefer water over sugary drinks when the heavily marketed and advertised sugary drinks are placed next to water in schools vending machines."

Hāpai te Hauora has launched a whānau-centric challenge to reduce consumption of sugary drinks and increase consumption of water across our communities.

The Fizz Free Whānau campaign details can be found here.