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Australian State hospitals to ban sugary drinks to combat obesity

SYDNEY, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The Australian State of New South Wales' (NSW) health department announced Thursday that it will ban sugary soft drinks in all hospitals and care facilities by the end of 2017, in order to combat the growing problem of obesity.

The move comes as part of NSW Health's "Make Healthy Normal" campaign, which aims to achieve a five percent reduction in overweight and obesity rates in adults by 2020.

"There's no better way to start than right here on our own doorstep," NSW Health chief health officer Kerry Chant said.

"It is important that NSW Health provides healthy food and drink choices for all our staff and visitors."

"By establishing this model we hope it shows how a workable strategy can be successfully implemented across any organization to assist healthier choices in any staffing environment," Chant said.

According to the NSW Heart Foundation, a health advocacy and charity group, "one in two adults and more than one in five children in NSW are overweight or obese," which dramatically heightens the risk of a wide range of chronic health conditions including "type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and some cancers."

"Governments at every level have a role to play in making the healthy choice easy," NSW Heart Foundation's chief executive Kerry Doyle told Xinhua Thursday.

"People visiting hospitals and patients should all have access to healthy foods and not have the temptation of sugar laden drinks confronting them at every corner."

But not everyone is impressed with the move, the Australian Beverages Council's chief executive officer Geoff Parker told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the policy was a "nanny state approach."

Adding that, consumer choice is being "imposed upon them by NSW Health," Parker said.


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