New Zealand’s first “no sugary drinks” logo was unveiled at an event in Wellington, at the FIZZ symposium (Toward a sugary drink-free Aotearoa) to empower communities around NZ to lift their health and wellbeing.
The logo comprises a circle with the words “sugary drink” around the silhouette of a bottle and the word “No”. It’s available for free for display in schools, businesses, workplaces, public spaces and event venues.
Marketing expert Bodo Lang devised the logo for FIZZ with the assistance of graphic designer Jenny Mason and the marketing and communications team at the University of Auckland Business School.
FIZZ , a group of researchers and public health doctors pushing for a sugary-drink free Aotearoa New Zealand by 2025, hope to send a clear message about the damage caused by too much sugar in our diets.
FIZZ argues the evidence implicating sugary drinks in serious health problems, such as obesity, type-2 diabetes, rotten teeth and gout, is compelling enough to justify ending the sales of these products.
The logo was revealed ahead of new advertising restrictions on junk food for children as part of an anti-obesity push.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman made the announcement as part of an update on progress made as the obesity plan reaches its first year anniversary.
"Obesity is a serious issue threatening the health of young New Zealanders, which means some of our kids could end up living shorter lives than their parents.
"In 2014/15 11 per cent of all children aged 2-14 years were obese. The figures for Maori and Pacific children were 15 per cent and 30 per cent respectively," he said.
There was "always more to be done" however, and a briefing document from the Ministry of Health said a "medium-term comprehensive programme" would be required to improve health outcomes for Maori and Pasifika children.
“The consequences of too much sugar in our diets are far-reaching and wide-ranging for both individuals and society, from harming our wellbeing and the learning of our children, to massive healthcare and productivity costs,” says Bodo Lang, a senior lecturer in Marketing at the University of Auckland.
“We’re heartened to see examples of strong community leadership on this issue – a growing number of schools have banned sugary drinks and principals are reporting a sharp rise in learning behaviours and decrease in disruptive behaviours in the classroom. Auckland Council is phasing out sugar-sweetened drinks from vending machines at 15 council-operated leisure centres,” he says.
“Many organisations, events and leaders have asked for a logo that would allow them to show their commitment to being free of sugary drinks,” says Dr Lang
“Just like the smokefree/auahi kore logo allowed people to draw a line in the sand against smoking, this new “no sugary drinks” logo will empower communities to lift their health and wellbeing.
It’ll also send a clear message about the damage that excess sugar is causing.”
New Zealanders, on average, consume about 54 kilograms of sugar per year.
That is equivalent to 37 teaspoons of sugar per person per day - four times the recommended maximum by the American Heart Association, which advocates the 3-6-9 message: a maximum of three teaspoons of sugar per day for a child, six teaspoons for a women and nine teaspoons for a man.
"Sugary drinks are the single biggest products which put added sugar into our diet,” says Dr Sundborn.
“That’s why we’re targeting them – they’re the big ticket item. Then hopefully people will start thinking about the hidden sugar in other parts of our diet.”
A study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal in February by Professor Tony Blakely, of the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, found a 20 percent tax on sugary soft drinks could prevent 67 deaths from cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and diet-related cancers per year.