Thirsty people with a sweet tooth will be out of luck if they try to buy fizzy drinks in hospitals from today.
Hospitals and district health boards throughout the country will be banning the sale of sugary drinks from their premises, in an effort to curb obesity.
Director-General of Health Chai Chuah wrote to all district health boards last month as part of a push to get them to ban the beverages.
Thirteen DHBs already have bans in place and six others are expected to have implemented their new drinks policies by the end of September.
That leaves just one DHB, Waikato, which will fully implement its policy by January, a Ministry of Health spokesperson said.
University of Auckland researcher Dr Gerhard Sundborn, who also heads public health advocacy group FIZZ, says the Ministry of Health directive will send a strong message.
"Considering the harm that sugary drinks pose in their contribution to rotten teeth, diabetes and obesity this action will have strong population health benefits, particularly for our children," says Dr Sundborn.
"It is hoped too that this model may be replicated in other sectors, for example education."
A symposium looking at sugary drinks and health will be held by researchers at the University of Auckland, Otago University and Manukau Institute of Technology in October.
3 News / NZN