Australia’s most prominent health organisations have joined forces to curb the consumption of soft-drink Down Under, with a new campaign called ‘Rethink sugary drinks’.
The campaign, which hits TV screens today, is an initiative from the Cancer Council, Diabetes Australia and the National Heart Foundation and aims to lower Australia’s rising obesity rates by encouraging people to switch the fizz for water or milk.
The push comes less than two days after global soft-drink giant, Coca-Cola, launched a major campaign in the US extolling the virtues of its ‘low-calorie’ soft-drink options, as anti-soda sentiment gathers momentum in America at governmental levels.
While the new Australian TV campaign increases awareness of the dangers of fizzy drinks, the not-for-profits are also proposing a government tax on beverages with high levels of sugar.
In addition, they will work to implement resitrictions to reduce children's exposure to soft-drink marketing, and are asking schools and workplaces to limit the sale and availability of sweet carbonated drinks.
The ad draws on a campaign from the New York City Department of Health in which a man sits at a bar eating 16 sachets of sugar.
''You'd never eat 16 packs of sugar,'' the ad says, ''Why would you drink 16 packs of sugar?''
According to Cancer Council Australia a regular 600ml soft drink contains this many packs of sugar.
Craig Sinclair, chair of the Public Health Committee at Cancer Council said in a statement: "Soft drinks seem innocuous and consumed occasionally they're fine, but soft drink companies have made it so they're seen as part of an everyday diet.
"They're often cheaper than bottled water and are advertised relentlessly to teenagers.
"They're being consumed at levels that can lead to serious health issues for the population.”
According to the three organisations, soft-drinks cause weight gain and obesity which are risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Below: Coca-Cola's new anti-obesity ad campaign, 'Coming Together', which launched in the US on Tuesday