Since spreading the word about this meets stiff societal resistance, I was happy to see the following story in this morning's Australian Food News (AFN). If one Queenslander stops giving his kid fruit juice, Jeannette Young will have earned her salary. Unfortunately, AFN's headline is misleading; Young isn't calling for a governmental ban, just a parental one.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Calls for a Ban on Fruit Juice and Soft Drinks
"Queensland parents should ban their children from soft drinks and fruit juices in an attempt to reverse the alarming rise in childhood obesity, according to Queensland Chief Health Officer, Jeannette Young in an announcement today.
"The announcement comes at the release of the fourth report of the Chief Health Officer, The Health of Queenslanders 2012: Advancing Good Health. According to the report, one in five Queensland children is now overweight and a further one in ten is obese, making a total of 27 per cent of children, or about 200,000, overweight or obese.
"In 2006, 21% of children aged 5-17 years were overweight or obese – a figure which has steadily grown about one percentage point each year since then.
"Dr Young said that to combat the issue, parents should cut back on sugary drinks given to children. According to Dr Young, with up to 10 teaspoons of sugar in each 375ml can of soft drink, a child drinking one can a day will consume 18 kilograms of sugar in a year.
“'Many parents think fruit juice is a healthy alternative, but it is a poor substitute for whole fruits and is loaded with kilojoules [calories, metric-style]. The high acidity level masks the fact that fruit juice has about as much sugar as soft drink,' Dr Young said. [Emphasis mine.]
“'Ireland is looking at a proposal to ban junk food advertising during children’s programs and we too must look at different ways to improve the health of our children,' Dr Young added.
"According to Dr Young, parents are responsible for developing healthy behaviours for their children at an early age.
“'There is only so much that governments can do. In the end it is the parents or carers who choose what to put in their children’s mouths,' Dr Young said.
“'Making healthy choices can be difficult at times, but the problem continues to worsen and it is time for parents to stand firm,' she added."