Youth make health pledge to ditch sugar for tap water
THE importance of last week’s official launch of the ‘Tap Water Every Day’ campaign in Leongatha cannot be overstated.
What’s at stake? The health of the region’s youth and possibly even the health of the nation.
For, if the South Coast Primary & Community Partnership’s push to see more young men drinking tap water is a success, it may well be a template for an Australia-wide initiative.
Our region is the perfect place to start the campaign, for we certainly love our sugar.
But statistics show that choosing consuming sugar comes at a big cost and switching to tap water has major health, financial and environmental benefits:
- In South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires 15.5 per cent of the adult population consumes sugar sweetened beverages on a daily basis.
- More than four per cent of adults from the same area consume NO water at all each day (South Gippsland 5.3 per cent, Bass Coast 3.3 per cent).
- Health data reveals that 7.6 per cent of the South Gippsland population has poor dental health, compared to the Victorian average of 5.6 per cent.
- Drinking water instead of sugary drinks is a good way to decrease daily sugar consumption, which has been linked to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
- Drinking one 600ml bottle of regular soft drink a day for one year will mean you are consuming 23kg of sugar a year.
- Forty-seven per cent of children (two to 16 years of age) consume sugar sweetened beverages (including energy drinks) every day.
- Many drinks contain acid that harms your teeth, including regular and diet soft drinks, sports/energy drinks and fruit juices. Acid weakens tooth enamel which can lead to tooth decay. Tooth decay is the most prevalent disease in Australia.
- Drinking a 375ml can of sugar sweetened beverage will cost $1095 per year.
- In 2014, 530 billion plastic bottles were produced globally, a number expected to increase to nearly 650 billion by 2019.
Bass Coast Health CEO Jan Child – who has been joined in the campaign by fellow healthcare network bosses Chris Trotman (South Gippsland Hospital) and Mark Johnson (Gippsland Southern Health Service) – said the campaign was essential for the future health of region.
“The local health services were all doing stuff separately. To pool resources and have one plan that has the backing of the State Government, is going to be a game changer – amazing stuff,” she said.
“The people who access our emergency services are people who are overweight, aren’t eating well, have cardiac issues because their veins or arteries are getting blocked.
“You look at a product like Big M, that has so much sugar in it. People think they’re consuming something that’s healthy. They don’t realise that it’s something that’s going to clog their veins.”
She said the campaign was about encouraging “healthy choices”.
“Those healthy choices are so critical. If we can reach young people, you’ll stop them coming into the emergency ward in the future,” she said.
Students from Leongatha Secondary College, Korumburra Secondary College, South Gippsland Specialist School and Wonthaggi Secondary College were all at the launch.
The teens have been instrumental in doing design work, constructing water drop symbols and surveying fellow students on what needs to be done to ensure the campaign’s success.
One specialist school student has even recorded a rap urging people to embrace tap water as their beverage of choice.
South Coast Primary & Community Partnership’s Sarah Green described the campaign as “for young people, by young people”.
For more details on what you can do, visit: https://www.southcoastpcp.org.au/
Making the change
- Carry a water bottle.
- Make sure your kids take a reusable water bottle to school, sporting activities and when out and about.
- Keep a jug of fresh water in your fridge for the whole family to enjoy.
- Start and end your day with water at your family table.
- Why not try infusing water with fruit, vegetables, or herbs? It’s an easy way to make water enticing without adding sugar.
- Follow the campaign: ##TapWaterEveryDay
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