Magda’s Big Health Check cites AMA’s call for sugary drinks tax

Australian Medical Association

An ABC TV national program on Australia’s state of health, fronted by Magda Szubanksi AO, has featured the AMA’s call for a tax on sugar-filled drinks to tackle the major health system burdens of diabetes, obesity and vascular disease.

The AMA’s #SicklySweet campaign calling for a tax on sugary drinks has been featured on a new national television program calling for healthier lifestyles.

Actor and comedian, Magda Szubanski, hosts a new three-part program, Magda’s Big National Health Check, on ABC TV.

“Almost half of Aussie kids aged 2 to 16 consume sugar-sweetened drinks every day and they provide little or no nutritional value. I heard that the AMA is launching a campaign against sugary drinks,” she told the audience.

The AMA is calling for a tax on sugary drinks, which are estimated to have 8−12 teaspoons of sugar in an average 375ml can of soft drinks, as a key plank of its plan to tackle chronic disease and make Australians healthier.

AMA Vice President, Dr Danielle McMullen, was interviewed earlier this week on The Conversation Hour on ABC Radio, saying it was “music to my ears” that decision makers and advocates are discussing a sugar tax to tackle chronic diseases.

“Well, certainly money would be saved in health. We do think if we as a population made healthier food and, particularly, beverage choices, the downstream effects of that are savings on health care and an important part of our vision for a sugar tax is that the revenue raised goes back into popular population health programs…to support those lower income, socio-economically disadvantaged communities.

“And we can help Australians use the revenue raised to make healthier choices and live in healthy communities.”

The tax proposed by the AMA would raise the retail price of the average supermarket sugary drink by 20 per cent.

The rise is in line with a World Health Organization recommendation, and over 25 years could result in 16,000 fewer cases of type 2 diabetes, 4,400 fewer cases of heart disease and 1100 fewer cases of stroke.

The AMA has estimated that a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages would raise the retail price of an average supermarket sugary drink by 20 per cent.

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