It is no secret that sugar has had a serious negative affect on society, with obesity rates, dental bills and heart issues spiking every year. New Zealand is the 24th most obese country in the world, with 30.6% of its population being classed as obese. The main factor contributing to the astounding obesity rate is the over-consumption of sugar.

We are a young New Zealand group from Shirley Boys High School in Christchurch that aims to make not only our school, but our country aware of the negative health impacts that sugar has on people and how people can avoid sugar in their diets. Our group is called “Sweet enough?”, and more can be found out about us on our Facebook page. We have made posters, newsletters and publicly spoken at our school to try and educate our fellow students on the negative effects of sugar.

Our next major step is a letter to our local member of parliament, to try and get a sugar tax implemented into our country. While the New Zealand ministry of health have already ruled out a sugar tax in our country, we are still striving to have an input. Our whole class took part in a low sugar diet for a month. We didn’t eat or drink anything that had more than 5% of sugar per 100g. While the first week was the most difficult, as we all went through sugar withdrawals, we saw some amazing results within our class, with students losing 4 kilograms of weight in just one month!

We then carried on to individually investigate the over-consumption of sugar in New Zealand and write a report about it. Soon after, we added our ideas together and work as a group rather than just individuals to have more of an impact. This report included the impact that sugar had on people’s well-being and the stake holders involved, and the wider society. We discovered what sugar actually is and how exactly it interacts with our bodies. Some of the results were eye opening, as we thoroughly looked into the amount of sugar in some of New Zealand’s most consumed foods. Some of the Sweet Enough team had some input after their investigation:

“It was amazing to see how much sugar is hidden in healthy classes food”- Jack Holmes

“The knowledge we have gained has had a positive impact on our futures”- Marshall Hannah

“We have been trying to make people aware of the amount of sugar hidden in their diets which could have short and long term impacts on their lives” – Jonathan McKenzie

On open night we used posters made by one of the class members of “Sweet enough?” to display how much sugar is in popular food items. It was a very important night for us as it allowed us to educate parents on hidden sugars – they are one of our main target groups as they buy the groceries for student’s school lunches. We hope we influenced the visitors on open night and made a healthy positive impact on their lives as we are passionate about our cause.

sugar-poster-a34

We want to share our experiences with not only our school, our country, but the world. Therefore, we would love for you to check us out on Facebook, and help us with our quest to make the world a healthier place for everyone!

About Daniel Perriam

Daniel is a student at Shirley Boy's High School and a member of the “Sweet enough?” Team.