Teen boys continue to guzzle soft drink

Source: AP

Research reveals one in six teenage boys in Australia consume at least 52 litres of soft drink each year, highlighting a 'need for a sugar tax'.

Australian teen boys are continuing to guzzle down soft drink at an "alarming" rate, setting them up for a future of chronic health conditions, research shows.

A large Cancer Council Australia study has found one in six teenage boys consumes at least 52 litres of soft drink each year.

This indicates over 150,000 high school students in Australia are drinking at least a litre of soft drink a week, which equates to at least 5.2 kilograms of additional sugar and doesn't account for other sugary drinks like energy drinks and cordials.

The research published in journal Public Health Nutrition found boys are more likely to consume this high amount of soft drink than teenage girls, 17 per cent compared to 10 per cent respectively.

Unfortunately, this is just one part of a worrying picture facing the future generation of Australian men, says Kathy Chapman from the Cancer Council.

For the first first time, says Ms Chapman, the research has linked soft drink consumption to other unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits.

"What we are seeing is a clustering of unhealthy behaviours that are setting teens up for future chronic health conditions," Ms Chapman said.

The research of more than 9000 high school students found teenage boys who guzzle a lot of soft drink are about twice as likely to not be eating enough fruit and are consuming more junk food.

They are also more likely to be spending more time in front of the TV and not getting enough sleep.

Ms Chapman, who is the chair of the nutrition and physical activity committee at the Cancer Council, suggests the marketing of soft drinks appears to be getting through to boys better.

"It's been seen as a convenient thing you know rather than thinking about drinking water as being important, they are also just seen as readily available and being good value for money," Ms Chapman told AAP.

The research has again led to a call for a sugar tax on soft drinks.

"Australian males already have poorer health in adulthood - including a shorter life expectancy, higher risk of dying early from chronic diseases, including cancer," Ms Chapman said.

She says without action "our next generation of men" will continue to fall behind.

Guidelines about the sale of soft drinks at schools also need to be monitored better, Ms Chapman says.

"If we could see soft drinks made not quite as easily available as they are now we would probably see other gains in terms of lifestyles and diets," she said.

Source AAP

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