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NZ Beverage Council: Don't shift the blame for bad teeth

Reports in today's media have highlighted the incidence of young children with rotten teeth.

Children as young as 18 months old are having multiple rotten teeth pulled out as parents feed toddlers soft drinks through sipper bottles, and chocolate biscuits and Milo as bedtime treats.

The article, "Sugary drinks and junk food blamed as kids have rotten baby teeth pulled out" quotes Dr Rob Beaglehole, principal dental officer for Nelson Marlborough District Health Board, who is urging government to restrict the advertising of "junk food" directly to children.

In a statement, the New Zealand Beverage Council said:

The issue of young children with rotten teeth raised in New Zealand media today by Dr Rob Beaglehole is one of poor parenting. No more and no less.

Parents are, or should be, in complete control of what children of that age eat and drink. It’s a complete evasion of parental responsibility to shift the blame for the state of these children’s teeth onto the manufacturers of products which should, after all, be consumed as treats or in moderation. It’s not the products at issue here; it’s the decision to use them inappropriately.

Our members are parents too and are as disappointed as anyone that there should be young children in our communities with teeth in such appalling condition.

The New Zealand Beverage Council supports and advocates that parents and caregivers have access to tools and information to ensure a healthy diet for their children.

The New Zealand Beverage Council does not support or endorse excessive consumption of foods and beverages high in salt, fats and sugar.

The NZ Beverage Council

The NZBC represents the manufacturers of New Zealand's juice, carbonated drink and bottled water brands, and their suppliers. The NZBC acts:

- as a forum to discuss issues of concern and interest to the industry

- as a self-regulator ensuring product adherence to all relevant codes and statutes

- as a provider of technical assistance to members

- as an advocate for consumer education on health and nutrition issues.

Currently, the NZBC membership represents around 95 percent of all juice and non-alcoholic beverages sold at a retail level.

www.nzbc.nz

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