A recent survey by a coalition of Australian health groups has found outstanding support for an increase in taxes on sugary drinks. The survey was conducted through a Newspoll Telephone Omnibus between the 28th and 30th of March 2014.

More than 80 per cent of respondents said they would support the increased tax if the proceeds were used to fight childhood obesity.

Health groups claim an increase of 20 per cent would at once decrease the amount of sugary drinks consumed, with attendant health benefits, and ease the load on an already overwhelmed health system. Moreover, the group claims the government would still net a lucrative $250 million a year through the revenues.

Australians currently consume an astounding 1.28 billion litres of sugary drinks each year.

Health groups have given sugar the nickname ‘the White Death’ as the detriment to health is well documented and pervasive throughout the nation.

Jane Martin, an executive from the Obesity Policy Coalition, said, “Sugary drinks are recognised as a major contributing factor to being overweight and obese. A 600 ml soft drink can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar. Currently one in four Australian children and 63 per cent of adults are overweight or obese and these statistics will continue to rise if we don’t take serious action to reduce this enormous national burden that is now becoming an epidemic.

“Unhealthy diets and being overweight and obese are the greatest contributors to ill-health in Australia, including being at risk for a number of different types of diseases including certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

“This study shows an effective way of framing the issue for the public in order to affect policy change in the area of obesity prevention.”

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