Provincial Government Encourages Residents to ‘Rethink Your Drink’

Today, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador launched ‘Rethink Your Drink’ – an awareness campaign to encourage healthier beverage choices.

The focus of the `Rethink Your Drink’ campaign is on encouraging residents to make healthier beverage choices – without the added sugar. ‘Rethink your Drink’ is just one of several initiatives being undertaken to support the health and wellness of residents of the province. More broadly, through Health Accord NL, the government is taking meaningful action to improve the social, economic and environmental factors that impact personal health.

Excess consumption of sugar sweetened beverages can contribute to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other related health issues, including poor dental health. Making healthier beverage choices can help reduce the consumption of excess sugars associated with an increased risk of developing chronic diseases.

Effective September 1, 2022, the government is also introducing a tax on sugar sweetened beverages. This is aimed at reducing consumption which aligns with recommendations from the World Health Organization (2017), the Canadian Healthy Eating Strategy (2016), the updated Canada’s Food Guide (2019), and the position statement from the Canadian Pediatric Society (2020), supported by the Dietitians of Canada, the Childhood Obesity Foundation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and Diabetes Canada. Excerpts from these papers, as well as other supporting information, is provided in the backgrounder below.

Revenues generated will help fund the pre-natal infant nutrition supplement, school breakfast and lunch programs, and the physical activity tax credit, as shown in this budget document.

Quotes
“Encouraging Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to make healthier beverage choices is the key message in our ‘Rethink Your Drink’ awareness campaign. We chose this slogan because we hope it will come to mind when you reach for a beverage. We encourage everyone to consider how you may be able to choose healthier beverages without added sugar for you and your family. This is one step towards meeting government’s ambitious goal of making Newfoundland and Labrador one of the healthiest provinces by 2031.”
Hon. Siobhan Coady
Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance

“Canada’s Food Guide supports making healthier food and beverage choices and recommends water to drink. This campaign can help remind people to make healthy beverage choices for themselves and their families whenever possible. Our department is committed to creating more supportive environments for healthy eating in community, recreation and sport settings, in school and childcare, as well as at home. This is an important part of achieving better health outcomes in Newfoundland and Labrador.”
Hon. Tom Osborne
Ministry of Health and Community Services

“I’m delighted that the ‘Rethink Your Drink’ awareness campaign is being officially launched today in the District of Mount Scio. We all need to make healthier decisions. I hope that this program causes residents to think about what they are consuming and choose lower calorie options or drink water when possible.”
The Honorable Sarah Stoodley
Minister of Digital Government and Service NL, and MHA for Mount Scio

“Sugary drinks are the single largest contributor of sugar in the average Canadian diet. Eating a healthy diet, with lots of vegetables, fruit and fiber and low in added sugar, helps reduce the risk of cancer. Excise taxes are an effective way to reduce consumption of sugary drinks. We applaud the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for taking action to encourage healthier drink choices and being the first to introduce a tax on sugar sweetened beverages, and we hope to see other governments follow suit. Actions like these will help prevent more cancers and reduce the number of people diagnosed with the disease.”
Kelly Wilson Cull, Director, Advocacy
Canadian Cancer Society

“The Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association supports healthy choices for your oral health and overall health. Choosing healthy drink choices is as important as choosing healthy food choices. We recommend that you make water your drink of choice and reduce your intake of sugary drinks and sweets which could contribute to tooth decay.”
Amanda SquiresExecutive Director
Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association

“For over 30 years, the School Lunch Association has been providing children with a hot nutritious lunch. This initiative speaks volumes to government’s continued support of our program and to the overall health and well-being of children in our schools.”
John Finn, Executive Director
School Lunch Association

“Health literacy is crucial for us to make the right wellness choices. Awareness programs like Rethink Your Drink empower people to take positive action towards better health.”
Mike Wahl, Ph.D.
Host, ‘The Wellness and Healthy Lifestyle Show’

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learn more
Rethink Your Drink

News Release: Legislation on Making Better Beverage Choices Being Introduced in the House of Assembly

Budget 2021 – Healthier Choices

Canada’s Food Guide

media contacts
Victoria Barbour
Finance
709-729-4087, 327-6152
victoriabarbour@gov.nl.ca

Laura Thomas
Health and Community Services
709-729-6986, 727-0341
laurathomas@gov.nl.ca

Christa Dalton
Digital Government and Service NL
709-729-4748, 685-6492
kristadalton@gov.nl.ca

Jessica Abdilla
Canadian Cancer Society
437-266-8972
Jessica.adbilla@cancer.ca

amanda squires
Newfoundland and Labrador Dental Association
709-579-2362
amanda.nlda@nflda.net

John Finn
School Lunch Association
709-754-5323, 709-649-5558
jfinn@schoollunch.ca

mike wahl
The Wellness and Healthy Lifestyle Show
709-746-3355
info@wahlshow.com

BACKGROUNDER

Encouraging Healthier Beverage Choices

Canada’s Food Guide
Make water your drink of choice Canada’s Food Guide

World Health Organization
“Consumption of free sugars, including products like sugary drinks, is a major factor in the global increase of people suffering from obesity and diabetes,” says Dr. Douglas Bettcher, Director of WHO’s Department for the Prevention of NCDs. “If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives. They can also cut healthcare costs and increase revenues to invest in health services.”

“Taxation of certain foods and drinks, particularly those high in saturated fats, trans fat, free sugars and/or salt appears promising, with existing evidence clearly showing that increases in the prices of such products reduces their consumption. Excise taxes, such as those used on tobacco products, that apply a set (specific) amount of tax on a given quantity or volume of the product, or particular ingredient, are likely to be more effective than sales or other taxes based on a percentage of the retail price”.

Garwood, P. (2016, October 16). WHO urges global action to curtail consumption and health impacts of sugary drinks. World Health Organization. WHO urges global action to curtail consumption and health impacts of sugary drinks

Heart and Stoke Foundation
“Sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the Canadian diet, and too much added sugar is not good for heart health. Studies show that drinking sugary drinks twice daily increases the risk of developing heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, and raises the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by more than 30%.”

(2020, July 11). What should I drink? Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. What should I drink? Heart and Stroke Foundation
News release: Will a sugary drinks levy benefit Canadians? | Heart and Stroke Foundation

Canadian Dental Association
“Choosing healthy drink choices is as important as your food choices. Get in the good habit of comparing the nutrition facts table on drinks to choose products that are lower in sodium, sugars or saturated fat. Make water your drink of choice and reduce your intake of sugary drinks and sweets which could contribute to tooth decay.”

(2022). Nutrition. Canadian DentalAssociation. Canadian Dental Association (cda-adc.ca)

University of Waterloo

“By reducing obesity and overweight, a 20% tax on SSBs is estimated to prevent 12,053 cancer cases, 36,996 cases of ischemic heart disease, 4,833 strokes, and 138,635 cases of type 2 diabetes. Prevented incident and prevalent disease cases. For a 20% sugary drink tax, prevented diseases would include 21,777 cancer cases, 61,230 cases of ischemic heart disease, 8,151 strokes, and 215,846 cases of type 2 diabetes.”

Jones, AC, Veerman, JL, & Hammond, D. (2017). The Health and Economic Impact of a Tax on Sugary Drinks in Canada. University of Waterloo, Page 31. The-Health-and-Economic-Impact-of-a-Sugary-Drink-Tax-in-Canada-FULL-REPORT.pdf (childhoodobesityfoundation.ca)

Canadian Healthy Eating Strategy
“Evidence shows that many factors in our food environment influence our ability to make healthy food choices and to follow a healthy eating pattern. The food we have in our homes, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, as well as social influences and food marketing, have a major impact on our choices and make healthy eating a challenge for many of us. An increasing number of foods high in calories, fat, sodium and sugars are readily offered in multiple settings, thereby challenging our ability to make healthy choices.”

(2016, October 24). Healthy Eating Strategy. HealthCanada. Healthy Eating Strategy – Canada.ca

Canadian Pediatric Society
“The excessive consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) has been strongly associated with weight gain, chronic disease development, and dental caries. Recent research has correlated the raising of taxes on SSBs with decreased consumption in some jurisdictions. This policy could have significant positive impacts for public health.”

Pound, CM, Critch, JN, Thiessen, P., & Blair, B. (2020, January 30). A proposal to increase taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in Canada: Canadian Pediatric Society. A proposal to increase taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages in Canada | Canadian Pediatric Society (cps.ca)

Dietitians of Canada
“Based on available evidence, policy efforts that decrease the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages have the potential to positively impact the health of Canadians. Taxation has emerged as one viable policy option to reduce the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages. An excise tax of at least 10-20% is expected to have a considerable impact on the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.”

(2016, February). Taxation and sugar-sweetened beverages. Dietitians of Canada, Page 6. Dietitians of Canada

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