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Our vision: Lower Hutt – NZ’s healthiest people

Schools encouraged to ditch sugary drinks

21 March 2016

New Zealand schools are being encouraged to ditch sugary drinks in a recent announcement by the Ministries of Health and Education, and Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace is backing their decision.

Mayor Wallace said, “Health is one of the most valuable things we have, and it’s important that we do all we can to look after it. This is especially true in young people. By doing our best to give our children a solid foundation of good health, we help to set them up to live healthier, happier, and hopefully longer, lives.” 

In a recommendation announced on Monday (21 March), the Ministries of Health and Education are encouraging schools to consider banning sugary drinks from their premises and adopting a water-only (and plain reduced fat milk) policy.

Sugary drinks are one of the most significant causes of poor oral health and their consumption contributes to childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Studies have also found that poor diet and nutrition are associated with problem behaviours and lower academic achievement.

In signing up to a water-only (and plain reduced fat milk) policy, schools are committing to actively promoting water as the first choice, and removing sugary drinks from the school grounds – including kids’ drink bottles, and drinks sold at the school canteen and galas.  

This move is in line with a World Health Organisation recommendation to create healthy school environments.

It’s also something Healthy Families Lower Hutt is a strong supporter of. Part of Healthy Families NZ and the Government’s wider approach to helping New Zealanders live healthy, active lives – Healthy Families Lower Hutt aims  to help create a movement for good health in our community.  

If your school is becoming water-only, or already is, make sure you share your story on the Healthy Families Lower Hutt Facebook page. Schools are also welcome to contact the Healthy Families Lower Hutt team (via for support in implementing this policy.

It would be amazing if Lower Hutt became the first city in New Zealand to have all water-only schools, and sharing your stories is a great way to capture that progress.