NewZealand government said it has no intention to impose sugar tax even as researches show that 48 percent of supermarket-sold kids beverages in the country has sugar content that exceeded United States recommended serving size for sugar of 240mL. Health Minister Jonathan Coleman said that the government plans to tackle obesity and related health issues by other means.

The research indicating the sugar content and risks involved was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, and involved academics from Toi Ohomai (formerly Waiariki) Institute of Technology, AUT, and Canada’s Waterloo University.

The research team examined sugar content of around 656 beverages sold in New Zealand supermarkets that are often consumed by children. This included bottled water, carbonated soda, fruit juices, soy-based drinks cordials and diary drinks. Fruit and aerated drinks were found to be the major culprit with more than 85 percent of its total energy content comes from sugar. Dairy and soy based drinks was another offender with more than 90 percent beverages in this category had added sugar.

There was some good news as well. In the fruit juice and aerated drinks category, the sugar content was down from what it was five years ago. Britain implemented sugar levy on soft drinks in 2016 when it was found that self- regulation was not working. Researchers in New Zealand are calling for similar action to curb obesity and other health issues from over consumption of sugar.

Dr Lynne Chepulis, from Toi Ohomai said: “Unfortunately New Zealand has the worst profile and appears to be doing little to address it. (reducing sugar content in beverages) The UK, by comparison, is making significant inroads in reducing the actual sugar content of fizzy drinks.”

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