11 October, 2016

Celebrities, Scientists, Doctors and Health Experts launch SugarByHalf to tackle Australia’s Sugardemic

Professor Peter Brukner, Shane Watson, Professor Rob Moodie, Commando Steve, Dr Rosemary Stanton and others launch SugarByHalf

On World Obesity Day, a group of passionate health experts, doctors, celebrities and scientists have joined forces to launch SugarByHalf, a local long-term campaign that aims to cut Australia’s sky-high added sugar consumption in half.

Australia has a growing issue with added sugar, in what SugarByHalf is calling Australia’s Sugardemic, and it’s having a devastating effect on our health. Two in three Australians are overweight or obese, we're seeing the increase of type 2 diabetes in young people, and the rate of chronic disease and childhood tooth decay is back on the rise impacting more than half our kids. These serious health issues can be devastating for families with loved ones experiencing a poorer quality of life, increased health costs or shorter lives. 

“Sugar is everywhere and impossible to avoid. Foods packed with sugar are fastest, cheapest and most convenient options for Australian families, which is appalling and unacceptable. The average 600ml bottle of soft drink has on average, 15 teaspoons of sugar, which is more than double our daily recommendation. Apart from the obvious causes of soft drink, added sugar is hiding in many foods that we think are healthy, like flavoured yogurt, muesli bars, and even in savoury foods, like pasta sauces, salad dressings and tomato sauce,” said Prof Peter Brukner

Australia’s children and young people are at highest risk, being the biggest consumers of added sugar. Three-quarters of 9-18 year olds receive 10 per cent or more of their dietary energy from added sugars, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. On average an Australian teenage boy consumes 22 teaspoons of added sugar, far exceeding the World Health Organisation recommendation of 6 teaspoons for optimal health. 

“There is nothing more special than bringing children into this world and I can’t imagine a future where my children won’t live as long as I do because of the devastating health effects of sugar. I’ve been very fortunate to achieve some incredible things playing for my country and I’m really passionate about the SugarByHalf cause as it will truly benefit something even more important to us than sports - the health of all Australians,” said Shane Watson, Australian Cricketer. 

SugarByHalf was co-founded by the doctor for the Australian Cricket Team, Professor Peter Brukner OAM, after speaking at a TEDmed event last year: 

“Australians are currently confused about what they should and shouldn’t be eating. We’re consistently bombarded with a range of different diets and I realised the one thing that all of these diets have in common is the reduction of added sugar. It’s the one thing we all need to reduce in our diet to address the epidemic rates of ill health we’re experiencing in Australia,” said Prof. Peter Brukner

A number of health organisations have thrown their support behind SugarByHalf’s message including the RACGP:

“Limiting sugar intake is crucial for optimal health. Eating too much added sugar over time is linked to serious health problems such as obesity and diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Australia is seeing big increases in the numbers of people, and most worryingly children, with these conditions and that’s why the Royal Australian College of GPs is supporting SugarByHalf,” said Dr Bastian Seidel, President, Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Rebelling against the popular notion that sugar consumption is purely a matter of personal responsibility, SugarByHalf will focus on creating a movement of people that can lobby and unite government, the food industry and the general public to work together to address the issue of sugar consumption. 

Through a variety of campaigns, SugarByHalf will focus on:

  • Giving families the information they need to make informed choices through improved food labelling that includes added sugars
  • Ensuring environments where kids and young adults spend a lot of time such as schools, universities and sports clubs have healthy foods as a prominent choice and ultimately as the default option.

“Our health system is set to be bankrupted by the escalating rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, chronic illness and tooth decay - and all of these diseases have been scientifically linked to consuming too much added sugar over time.  I’ve been surprised by the level of enthusiasm we’ve received for this campaign - from celebrities to public health to medical practitioners and encourage everyone to visit our website and join our movement,” Prof. Peter Brukner continued.

Please visit to join the movement to tackle the Sugardemic. 



What are added sugars?

SugarByHalf defines “added sugars” as all sugars added to food or beverages, plus honey, syrups and fruit juices (i.e. what WHO and ABS calls “free sugars”). 


Released on behalf of SugarByHalf


For further information or an interview with SugarByHalf, please contact:

Anna Barr Public Relations

Anna Barr

0411 576 876