02 Dec 2016

Public Health

New Sugar Smart programme set to tackle Bristol's sweet tooth

Bristol is set to launch a new programme to reduce the amount of sugar people are eating in a bid to tackle obesity and dental problems in the city.

Recent data shows that 57 per cent of adults and over a third of year six aged children in the city are now above a healthy weight. And a quarter of five year olds in Bristol have tooth decay.

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

Key elements to be considered at a Youth Council meeting on Monday (5 December) include a voluntary local sugar tax as well as the impact unhealthy food advertising has alongside other influences on modern diets.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Eating too much sugar is contributing to rising obesity levels and dental problems, which are two significant factors linked to health inequalities in 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.”

Bristol’s Sugar Smart programme will aim to raise awareness and reduce consumption of sugar in communities across the city, and improve the environment we live in to make it easier for people to make healthy choices. The council will be working with partners from many different sectors including Bristol Sport, Bristol Sport Foundation and the University of the West of England. Work will begin next year and the initial focus will include: reducing sugar consumption in schools; promoting healthy vending choices; sugar smart workplaces; and a food award for restaurants and takeaways who commit to making positive changes.

Theo Davies, one of Bristol’s 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 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.”

The campaign will complement Public Health England’s Change4Life campaign which is aimed at families. More information about how to cut down on sugar can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/sugar-smart/home