Launch in new window

Swallow the Rat - Terra Nullius

You are here

‘Selling sickness to kids’ — dental association calls for complete ban of sugary drinks in schools

27 March, 2024

Interview by Castor Chacko, adapted by Joel Armstrong

New Zealand Dental Association spokesperson, Dr Rob Beaglehole, says we are “selling sickness to kids in schools” by allowing them to purchase sugary drinks.

The New Zealand Dental Association is calling on the government to completely ban the sale of soft drinks in schools.

Although most primary schools have ‘water only’ policies, this is not mandated, and there are no restrictions in many intermediate and high schools.

New Zealand Dental Association spokesperson, Dr Rob Beaglehole, told 95bFM’s The Wire that it does not make sense for education providers to advertise products with “no nutritional value”.

Dental disease caused by excess sugar consumption is the leading cause of preventable hospital admissions for children in Aotearoa.

Beaglehole says the number one way children absorb sugar is through soft drinks.

The association cites that a 600ml bottle of coke contains 16 teaspoons of sugar, equating to more than double the total recommended daily intake of refined sugar.

“Soft drinks are the number one contributing factor to tooth decay, obesity, and type two diabetes.”

Beaglehole says water and unflavoured milk would be more appropriate drink options for young people.

“It does not make sense to be selling sickness to kids in schools,” says Beaglehole.

Listen to the full interview

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air