Maltese people are the second most likely to drink soft drinks or sugary drinks on a daily basis in the European Union in 2019, statistics published by the EU’s statistics agency Eurostat show.
The survey, part of the third wave of the European Health Interview Survey, asked respondents how often they drank sugar-sweetened soft drinks.
For the purpose of the survey, sugar-sweetened soft drinks include, regular soft drinks, bottled ice tea, energy drinks and syrup-based drinks among others.
Respondents were given three options: at least once a day, four to six times a week, once to three times a week or ‘never or occasionally’.
Malta had the second highest proportion of people who said they drank soft drinks at least once a day at 12.4% of respondents. Belgium had the highest proportion – 20.4% – while Germany followed Malta with 12.1% of respondents.
Estonia was the country with the lowest percentage of people who said they consumed sugary drinks at least once a day at 2.4%. The EU average stood at 9.1%
While Malta had the second-highest percentage of ‘daily drinkers’, it also registered a relatively high proportion of respondents saying that they never or only occasionally did.
In fact, 70.8% of Maltese respondents fell in this category, the ninth highest out of the 27 countries surveyed.
In fact, the statistics show that while Malta had among the highest rates of daily drinks, it registered the fourth-lowest (4.4%) proportion of people declaring that they consume soft drinks four to six times a week, and the lowest proportion (12.4%) that said they did so once to three times a week.
Obesity is a major public health concern for Malta, with statistics showing the Maltese to be among the most obese in the EU.
Speaking to Lovin Malta last year, Superintendent for Public Health Charmaine Gauci outlined various efforts being taken by local authorities to tackle the problem, including campaigns to promote a more Mediterranean diet and to shift children off sugary drinks and sweets.
Back in 2018, the government had in fact banned certain types of food from school cafeterias in order to promote healthier options.
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