A WORKSHOP on controlling the sale of sugar — sweetened beverages (SSBs) to children has now prompted the idea of forming an alliance that will lobby health related issues caused by the high SSB consumption levels.
The workshop was organised by the Diabetes Fiji, Fiji Wellness Centre, Consumer Council of Fiji, National Food and Nutrition Centre and the Ministry of Health.
It was attended by more than 50 people representing inter faith based organisations, NGOs, tertiary institutes, primary schools, secondary schools and members of the community.
Titled Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Controlling the Marketing of Unhealthy Foods to Children, the workshop enabled the participants to ask for an alliance to address illnesses relating to non-communicable disease.
The alarming figures shown during the workshop surprised participants involved in various discussions which all focused on asking government to increase taxation on corporate bodies that produced SSBs.
Diabetes Fiji chairman Dr Wahid Khan said the core group of the alliance would be made up of Diabetes Fiji, the Consumer Council and the National Food and Nutrition Centre and this would also include other organisations that were part of the workshop on Wednesday.
Dr Khan said once the alliance was formed and in operation, only then would it be able to draw up draft budgets to present to the Ministry of Finance seeking approval to implement an increase in taxation on SSBs companies.
"The other objective is to make sure that these organisations directly approach the government and make recommendations to the government when it's time for the budget.
"I would anticipate that the alliance is to co-ordinate the activities of these organisations," he said.