Eleven years after the Waitemata District Health Board banned on-site sales of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, the last of the country's 20 DHBs has agreed to follow suit.

The Health Ministry told all DHBs to cease sales of tooth-damaging sugar drinks by today, as part of Health Minister Jonathan Coleman's demand that they do more to reduce obesity.

Thirty per cent of New Zealand adults are obese - the third highest rate in the developed world - and 10 per cent of children.

The ministry says that by last week, 13 DHBs had ended sugar-drink sales and six were on track to meet today's deadline, leaving only Waikato, which has adopted a policy, but the policy won't be fully in place until January.


"Contracts are renewed once a year," Waikato DHB population health specialist Dr Anita Bell told members of her board "and may need to wait for end of contracts to implement in some places".

The Waikato policy will still allow some sugary drinks. Seventy per cent of drinks on sale at Waikato DHB's public hospitals and other premises will contain no sugar or sweetener, and 30 per cent will be naturally sweetened fruit juices, flavoured milk or diet soft drinks.

Hospitals have no plans to ban patients, staff or visitors from bringing their own sugary drinks into DHB premises.

Tuck-shop contractors have said sugary soft drinks have largely gone from schools since major bottlers agreed with the Labour Government in 2006 to withdraw them voluntarily, although the deal did not cover independent wholesalers.