Barnet Council has launched its SUGAR SMART campaign after shocking statistics revealed that one in five children in the borough started primary school either overweight or obese in 2017-18.
The Worshipful Mayor of Barnet, Councillor Caroline Stock, and the Barnet Council Public Health team kick off the borough's SUGAR SMART campaign.
The campaign – part of a nationwide initiative, led by food charity Sustain – aims to make sugary products less available and less well promoted. It is hoped that by raising awareness of the benefits of consuming less sugar, people will be encouraged to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Statistics for the 2017-18 financial year showed that one in three children in Year 6 were either overweight or obese.
Councillor Caroline Stock, Chair of Barnet’s Health and Wellbeing Board, said: "With the rise in obesity and diabetes, the launch of the SUGAR SMART campaign is really important. Sugar consumption is far too high and for a third of our primary school children to be leaving school overweight or obese is unacceptable. I encourage everyone to reduce their sugar intake.”
Dr Tamara Djuretic, Director of Public Health at Barnet Council, said: “Many people are not aware how much sugar they consume every day. The SUGAR SMART campaign will help us raise awareness of “hidden sugar” in drinks and food around us. By working together across the borough, we can tackle this obesogenic environment.”
All schools, workplaces, venues and organisations will be encouraged to take part in SUGAR SMART Barnet – but the primary focus will be on children aged up to 11. This will include targeting ‘early years’ settings, primary schools, community groups and relevant businesses such as leisure centres, sport clubs and retailers.
Organisations can take part in SUGAR SMART Barnet by pledging to take actions which make it easier for people to reduce their sugar consumption.
There are lots of different ways to make pledges. For example, they could be to:
- Actively promote free drinking water
- Provide information on healthy food
- Run promotions on healthier food and drink options.
Barnet Council has already pledged to:
- Promote free drinking water
- Reduce high sugar options in vending machines
- Provide clearer information about nutritional values of food and drink.
SUGAR SMART is a campaign by food charity Sustain working with councils, businesses, institutions and other sectors to help reduce overconsumption of sugar in their local areas. SUGAR SMART supports local campaigns to transform their food environment and raise public awareness of the impacts of consuming too much sugar.
Any organisation can pledge to become SUGAR SMART – from councils and schools to restaurants, hospitals and independent companies. Individuals interested in supporting their local campaigns can also join the SUGAR SMART newsletter or sign up as a local volunteer via the website.