Bristol City Council has teamed up with the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and other local organisations, including the Bristol Sport Foundation and The University West of England (UWE Bristol), to become more Sugar Smart.
Children of today are the first generation predicted to live shorter lives than their parents because of diet and inactivity. By becoming Sugar Smart it’s hoped that Bristol will challenge that prediction.
The new programme, led by the council’s public health team, will help people to recognise how much sugar is in the food they eat. It is being launched following input from Bristol’s Youth Council, which recently debated the merits of a city-wide health campaign, and will aim to help tackle the city’s poor oral health and obesity crisis.
Local organisations are leading by example and playing their part. The Bristol Sport Foundation is helping raise awareness of sugar content at Ashton Gate Stadium’s concessions alongside its community school programmes.
The initiative was launched at the big weekend of sport at Ashton Gate where Bristol Rugby took on Bath on Friday 13 January and City played Cardiff on Saturday 14 January.
Fans at both games saw the first sugar smart videos rolled out along with players highlighting how they are getting involved.
Ben Breeze, Chief Community Officer at Bristol Sport Foundation, said: “Bristol Sport Foundation is proud to support the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Bristol City Council with the Sugar Smart programme. Bristol Sport Foundation will deliver Health and Wellbeing programmes in schools throughout Bristol and help to promote and champion healthy lifestyle choices with our corporate partners in the Lansdown Club, our group of sports and at the stadium itself.”
Recent data shows 57 per cent of adults are now overweight and a quarter of five-year-olds in Bristol have tooth decay.
UWE Bristol will also be joining the health drive and will be supporting students during exam time, highlighting healthier alternatives to high sugar products to maintain steady energy levels.
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Rising obesity levels and dental problems are two major contributing factors to health inequalities in Bristol and we know that eating too much sugar plays a major role in this. Throughout the year we’re going to be partnering with a wide range of different organisations as we can make a greater impact by working together. Having organisations such as Bristol Sport and UWE Bristol on board will help us to reach different audiences and it is essential that the whole of Bristol benefits from this. If we can improve our health, we can become more resilient whilst also reducing the pressure on public purses.”
Others organisation already involved include Redcliffe Children’s Centre and Nursery, which is championing healthy eating for families and children; the Square Food Foundation, which teaches people from all walks of life to cook from scratch; Bristol-based creative agency, Six, as well as the city’s Youth Council who kicked off the conversation about sugar at a debate in December. The city’s two hospital trusts are also on board and promoting how to be Sugar Smart to their 17,000 staff. Information will be going to the city’s GP surgeries, dentists and children’s centres this month and all organisations involved are doing so on a pro-bono and voluntary basis.
The council’s public health team work to improve health and wellbeing of local people and reduce health inequalities across Bristol. The Sugar Smart programme will initially focus on 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.
For more information about how you, your organisation, school or workplace can get involved, visit www.sugarsmartbristol.co.uk
For social media follow @BristolCouncil or @bccpublichealth and use the #sugarsmartbristol hashtag.
You can also get involved by taking part in the Council Sugar Smart survey https://bristol.citizenspace.com/public-health/sugar-smart-survey/consult_view/
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