WA teenagers drink fewer sugary drinks than their Aussie counterparts

Posted on 24th September 2019

Promising results were released today from Cancer Council Australia regarding the National Secondary Students’ Diet and Activity (NaSSDA) survey, which looked at the diet and activity habits of more than 9,000 students across the country.

The survey reveals that Western Australian teenagers have the lowest rate of consumption of sugary drinks in the country, with only one in 10 WA students (10 per cent) consuming a litre or more of sugary drinks each week, compared to the national average of one in six (17 per cent).

While the proportion of Australian secondary school students reporting they consume a litre or more of sugary drinks per week has significantly decreased over time, WA showed the steepest decline down from 20 per cent in 2012-13 to 10 per cent in 2018.

The WA results are particularly significant as they coincide with the repeated airing of the Department of Health funded LiveLighter® campaign in WA, sending the strongest signal yet that LiveLighter is working.

Whilst we know from previous studies that LiveLighter contributes to a reduction in sugary drink consumption in WA adults when the campaign is on air, this is the first time we’ve seen this flow on effect in teens. While the LiveLighter® campaign is targeted at adults, teens are naturally exposed to these marketing messages and benefit when parents make healthier choices at home.

While today’s news is encouraging, we know now is not the time to rest. While WA may be performing better than the national average, figures are still concerning.  Sugary drink consumption is still too high, particularly among children and adults living in low socio-economic areas, and given this study indicates the impact LiveLighter is having in WA, now is the time to ramp up efforts to accelerate more positive behavioural change.

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