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Survey reveals hard truth about soft drinks

THE vast availability of cheap soft drinks, at home and at school, is encouraging Australian teenage boys to continue to guzzle down sugary drinks at an alarming rate, according to new Cancer Council research published on Tuesday.

The research from the National Secondary Students' Diet and Activity survey, published in Public Health Nutrition, found teenage boys are more likely to consume excess amounts of soft drinks than their female counterparts, and that soft drink consumption is also linked to other unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits.

Kathy Chapman, Chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee at Cancer Council Australia, said the research indicates more than 150,000 Australian high school students drink at least a litre of soft drink a week.

She is concerned that teenage boys in particular are putting themselves at higher risk of adult obesity, a known cancer risk, as well as other chronic diseases.

"A litre of soft drink a week may not sound like much, but over a year it equates to at least 5.2kg of extra sugar, and this doesn't even account for other sugar-sweetened beverages such as energy drinks, cordials and fruit flavoured drinks, or the sugar they consume in junk food and snacks.”