Dentists are calling for a sugar levy after Kiwi drinks were found to have more sugar than other countries.
Research conducted by University of Waikato researcher Dr Lynne Chepulis alongside overseas researchers has found that non-alcoholic Kiwi drinks have higher sugar levels, compared to Australia, Canada and the UK.
The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is calling for immediate measures to address the harm caused by these drinks by including an icon label on sugary drinks, a sugary drink levy, and ensuring schools are 'water only'.
NZDA spokesperson Dr Rob Beaglehole says that sugar is a major contributor to dental decay and the study showed drinks sold in New Zealand had several teaspoons more sugar.
"An end to the confusion around 'sugar per 100mls' is within our grasp. We're asking for a sugary drink icon. This would clearly let consumers know how many teaspoons of sugar are in their drink," he said.
Dr Beaglehole wanted New Zealand to address sugary drink consumption by adding a levy similar to the one to be introduced in the UK in April this year.
He was pleased with the 'water-only' policy in schools but said it didn't go far enough yet.
"In the past few years we've seen great success in 'water-only policy for primary and intermediate schools, but this needs to extend to all schools, including high schools," said Dr Beaglehole.
A consortium of public health groups is backing a NZDA-led 7-point Consensus Statement on Sugary Drinks.