The Irish Beverage Council (IBC), the Ibec group that represents soft drinks companies, highlighted a new World Health Organisation (WHO) Europe report showing 11-15 year olds in Ireland who consumed sugar-sweetened soft drinks on a daily basis, fell by 70 % - from 37.3 % in 2002 to 11.1 % in 2014
IBC Director Colm Jordan stated: “New WHO data for Ireland shows 70% less 11-15 year olds drank sugar sweetened soft drinks daily in 2014 than did in 2002. We are seeing the impact of industry innovation with an increase of new 'no sugar' and 'low sugar products' on the market and growth in volume sales for this sub-category in recent years. While obesity rates continue to increase, daily consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks amongst 11, 13 and 15 year olds is falling dramatically.”
The same survey of Irish 11, 13 and 15 year olds found that from 2002 to 2014:
- · Computer use of two hours or more on a weekday increased 203%, currently at 63.8%.
· TV viewing two hours or more on a weekday decreased 24%, currently at 50.4%.
· Daily fruit consumption increased 26%, currently at 41%.
· Daily vegetable consumption increased 12.5%, currently at 44.1%
· Daily sweets consumption decreased 49%, currently at 24.8%.
· Moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity of 60 minutes or more a day decreased 4%, currently at 26.9%.
· Vigorous-intensity physical activity four or more times a week decreased 4%, currently at 54.8%.
“That’s 39% less than their European counterparts (at 18%). Irish 11 year old boys recorded one of the largest reductions in Europe, with an 83% fall in the numbers drinking sugar-sweetened soft drinks daily between 2002 and 2014.
“In four countries where sugar-sweetened drink taxes were introduced (Mexico, France, Denmark, Hungary) obesity has actually increased (NCD-RisC). A tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks is a way of looking tough on obesity without actually tackling it.
“The Irish soft drinks industry is playing its part by reducing sugar content through industry reformulation. We are continuing to work with Government to deliver effective, evidence based solutions to yield real public health benefits."