Will taxing soft drinks help curb obesity in Australia?

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

It's not unusual to be discussing new taxes during Federal Budget week, but a free public lecture at the University of Adelaide will this week revive the issue of a tax on soft drinks.

With poor diet and obesity overtaking smoking as Australia's leading preventable disease, Dr Caroline Miller will ask: Is it time to tax soft drinks in Australia?

Dr Miller is a Beacon Senior Research Fellow with the School of Public Health at the University of Adelaide and leads a research group at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI). Her group researches public health in areas such as tobacco control, obesity prevention and alcohol consumption.

"For many years Australia has been a world leader in tobacco control, and now has among the lowest rates of smoking in the world. This is due to health professionals and policy makers alike recognising that smoking is major a public health problem requiring a public health response," Dr Miller says.

"Many of the lessons we've learned in reducing smoking could also be applied to the over-consumption of unhealthy food and beverages, such as soft drinks.

"Internationally, health agencies are investigating and implementing a range of interventions, including public education programs and tougher regulations. The issue of a tax on soft drinks has still not been fully debated in a genuine way at a health or policy making level.

"There is an opportunity here for Australia to show its leadership once again," Dr Miller says.

Prior to joining SAHMRI and the University, Dr Miller was General Manager, Cancer Control at Cancer Council SA. She has been involved in Australia’s major tobacco control initiatives, including hard-hitting television campaigns, graphic warning labels, and Australia’s world-leading standardised tobacco packaging.

WHAT: Executive Dean's Public Lecture Series: Is it time to tax soft drinks in Australia? by Dr Caroline Miller
WHERE: G030 lecture theatre, Adelaide Health and Medical School building, University of Adelaide, 57 North Terrace, Adelaide
WHEN: TOMORROW – 5.30-6.30pm, Wednesday 10 May 2017
COST: Free and open to all – please register


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