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Support in Israel for Reducing the Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

A special survey for EfshariBari conducted by Tel Aviv University showed that Israelis supported reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages

83% of Israelis would like to stop consuming sugar-sweetened beverages

Is it possible to significantly reduce the volume of consumption of sugar-sugar-sweetened beverages in Israel? The findings of a web survey conducted by researchers Prof. Nurit Gutmann, Ms. Gitit Bar-On, Ms. Naama Appel, and Dr. Emi Lev from the Tel Aviv University Faculty of Communications, for the National Project for an Active and Healthy Lifestyle – EfshariBari, on 1,013 respondents (representing the adult Jewish population over the age of 18 who surf the internet), reflected wide support for reducing the consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks for health reasons.

Support for reducing

The first notable finding of the survey was the high degree of willingness to significantly reduce drinking sugar-sweetened beverages. Most respondents thought it would be easier for their household members, but more difficult for others. In response to the question: 'In sugar-sweetened sugar-sweetened beverages there is a lot of sugar that can cause health problems such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular diseases and caries. In your opinion, to what extent you, your family, and people in general, are able to quit, or significantly reduce the consumption of sugar-sugar-sweetened beverages bought in the stores?' The vast majority (83%) expressed high or medium degree of willingness: 69% said they would be most willing or very willing. 14% were willing to moderately reduce consumption. Only 12% replied that they were unwilling to stop or significantly reduce consumption of store-bought sugar-sweetened beverages. The survey found a light difference between men and women regarding the willingness to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages: 72% of women were willing to reduce it compared to 67% of men.

What is the current situation?

In 5% of households, sugar-sweetened drinks are never consumed; sugar-sweetened beverages are hardly ever consumed in 25% except on special occasions and 29% of households consume such beverages once a week. However, there is a minority that consumes sugar-sweetened beverages at a relatively high frequency: in about a fifth of all households (19%), sugar-sweetened beverages are consumed a number of times a week, in 9% of households sugar-sweetened beverages are consumed once a day and in 13% of households they are consumed several times a day.

Children and sugar-sweetened beverages

Many respondents were overwhelmingly supportive of the notion that children should not drink sugar-sweetened beverages at all, and believed legislation should restrict the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages near schools. To the question: 'How important is it for children not to drink at all sugar-sweetened beverages for health reasons?' 86% of respondents answered it was important or very important, 9% thought it was moderately important, while 4% said it was of little importance or no importance.

Question: 'According to World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, the sale of unhealthy drinks near schools should not be restricted. Twenty-one countries have already started to implement this recommendation. The Israel Ministry of Health is currently promoting similar legislation. To what extent would you endorse it?'
82% endorse promoting such legislation in Israel, 8% were impartial or had no opinion and 8% objected this legislation.

Further reading:

Full study report, Communications Faculty, Tel Aviv University (Hebrew)