Sugar Smart City: Bristol’s youth in new obesity battle

Bristol Youth Council have teamed up with Public Health England to tackle rising levels of obesity in the city.

New figures have shown that 57 per cent of adults and over a third of children in the city are now above a healthy weight. A quarter of five-year-olds also suffer from tooth decay due to a high sugar intake.

Bristol’s Youth Council will be helping to steer a new programme, allowing Bristol to become the first city in the South West to join forces with chef Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation and become a ‘Sugar Smart City’.

Sugar Savvy: The campaign will complement Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign which is aimed at families.

Sugar Savvy: The campaign will complement Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign which is aimed at families.

The Youth Council have discussed a voluntary local sugar tax and the impact of unhealthy food advertising.

The sugar tax involves a levy that will make drinks companies pay a charge for drinks with added sugar. There is a higher charge for the drinks that contain eight grams or more per 100 millilitres, or about 8% sugar content.

The local Bristol residents have given their thoughts on the sugar tax:

The new Sugar Smart programme aims to raise awareness and reduce sugar consumption in communities across the city as well as making it easier for people to make healthy choices.

Eating too much sugar is contributing to rising obesity levels and dental problems, which are two significant factors linked to health inequalities in Bristol

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

“We must address this if we want our city to be a fairer place where health and wellbeing is improving. The new Sugar Smart programme will aim to raise awareness about how much sugar is in the food we eat, helping us all make better informed choices about what we feed ourselves and our children. A healthier population is important for individual wellbeing, but it also reduces the pressures on public purses. A healthy workforce is a resilient one, which is better for the economy”

Theo Davies, one of Bristol’s two Youth Mayors said “It is shocking and unacceptable that my generation is the first predicted to live shorter lives than our parents thanks to obesity and poor diet. At our Youth Council meeting tonight we will be discussing the things that could make a real difference to how much sugar people eat and how public health could help to improve the diet of young people in the city.”

 
Online junk food ads banned

In relation to this campaign, online junk food advertisements, selling food that is high in salt, fat or aimed at children, have been banned under new restrictions from The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP). The advertisers’ body said the move would lead to “a major reduction” in the number of “junk food” ads seen by children on platforms such as YouTube and children’s games websites.

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