The Ministries of Education and Health announced today they are encouraging schools to ban sugary drinks in schools, and instead stock just water and milk.

Heart Foundation Education Setting Manager Justine Munro supported the move and said it was a positive step towards improving healthy food and drink environments for children.

"It sends a clear message of support and encouragement to schools that they are in a strong position to help communities tackle New Zealand's growing childhood obesity epidemic.

"This vision will, undoubtedly, have a positive effect on the long-term health and well-being of young New Zealanders."

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This comes after the Ministries put their support behind helping all schools become free of sugary drinks by the end of 2016.

"Added sugar offers little nutritional value and evidence shows high intakes increase body weight and have an impact on blood pressure and type 2 diabetes which are risk factors for heart disease," Ms Munro said.

"We hope that schools will adopt the Government's recommended policy of becoming water and plain reduced fat milk only schools."