What's the Fizz Free Whanau Challenge anyway?
The Fizz Free Whanau Challenge is a month-long challenge to ditch the fizz and go without fizzy drinks throughout the month of January. The Challenge is a great way to make an improvement not only to your own hauora (health), but to the health of our whole community, as fundraising efforts go to support healthy initiatives on the ground!
Why go Fizz Free?

15% Māori and 30% Pasifika tamariki are obese, compared with 11% of the general population. In tamariki and rangatahi, each serving of sugary drink (including juices and flavoured milk) increases the risk of obesity by 60%. If we’re going to turn the tide on obesity and obesity-related health issues, we need to deal with the fizz.

By going Fizz Free, you’ll feel benefits like improved energy and focus. You’ll also be able to feel great about supporting healthy initiatives in your community!

What counts as Fizz?
We’ve included all carbonated soft drinks, like colas and lemonades, including “zero” and “sugar-free” versions. However, this is a challenge you can make your own! If you’re up to it, we also encourage ditching other sugary drinks such as juices, energy drinks, sports drinks, flavoured milk, and alcohol. In our first year, we had participants who committed to only drinking Wai Maori (still water) for the whole month and beyond – Tau ke! Awesome!
What about Sports Drinks?
Most of us do not exercise intensely enough to warrant using sports drinks. The main “carbohydrates” and “electrolytes” in sports drinks are plain-old sugar and sodium. Unless you’re an endurance athlete, regular water is probably your best choice to get a few extra reps in at the gym.
What about beer and other alcohol?
We encourage whanau to make the challenge their own! While beer is carbonated, it’s not in the same category as sugar “fizzy drinks” or “sodas”, so it’s not a compulsory part of The Challenge. However, the New Year is a great time to also think about your drinking habits, and we know that excessive alcohol consumption is also harmful to our health. If you can take the challenge up a level and ditch beer, or alcohol altogether, make sure you make it clear on your profile so you can be supported in your endeavours. Karawhiua! Give it heaps!
What about fizzy water?

While carbonated water is a much better choice than sugary or artificially sweetened soft drinks like cola or lemonade, just make sure you check the label! Tonic water, club soda and flavoured sparkling waters can contain products such as sucralose, sugar, citric acid and added sodium, which can contribute to tooth decay. There is also some debate about the carbonation process itself, which makes water more acidic. Some experts say that this contributes to softening tooth enamel, and damaging your teeth, though some say that this is offset by your saliva.

The verdict: If you absolutely have to have some bubbles, sparkling water with no additives is your best bet- but make sure that this is a “sometimes” treat, rather than an everyday drink. Try to make sure that if you’re going to have a carbonated drink, you drink it in one sitting, rather than sipping on it throughout the day, as this will reduce the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the acid.

Is the challenge just for Maori?
The short answer: Kao! Not at all! While our programme is grounded in our Maori culture, we know that our principles of aroha and manaakitanga (love & caring for others) are universal. A positive, supportive approach is not exclusive to Maori, and our programme is inclusive of a range of cultures -our champions are representative of that! We encourage whanau of all cultures to join us in the Fizz Free Whanau Challenge- added bonus that you might learn a little bit of Te Reo (Maori language) as you go!
Where does the money go?

The Challenge itself is only the beginning!

We also provide support for community organisations, like kohanga, schools, and sports clubs to go Fizz Free and create healthier environments for our whanau to thrive. We do this by working with organisations to develop healthy nutrition and physical activity policies, and supporting them to develop their own initiatives. The funds raised from the Fizz Free Whanau Challenge support this mahi.

What does that look like?

It could be anything from installing water fountains, providing sports gear, to getting equipment for tamariki to learn how to cook or prepare their own healthy kai.

It also goes towards supporting Fizz Free Whanau to grow. We started out from humble beginnings with less than $500 to run our whole 2017 campaign. We have been overwhelmed by the fantastic community support during our pilot year, and are looking forward to growing to support more whanau to live healthy, active, and fulfilling lifestyles. Some of the funds raised will go to cover basic costs of running the campaign so that we can continue doing what we do and make an even bigger impact next year!

How can I get support from Fizz Free Whanau for my community?

If you’re a representative for a community organisation and want support to implement a health nutrition policy, or if you need funding to run healthy nutrition focused initiatives within your community, please get in touch on the community page. Fizz Free Whānau Community grants will open on January 1st, and we would love to support you!