Brighton and Hove council have become the first British city to introduce the much-called-for tax on sugary drinks. Following Jamie Oliver highlighting the issue in a recent documentary, which got the seal of approval from the dental industry, Brighton and Hove have heeded the call and will implement a 10p levy on sugary drinks in an effort to tackle obesity and tooth decay in the area.
One in three children is overweight and obese by the time they leave primary school in the area, while 300 children were admitted to hospital for teeth extraction in 2012/13. The new initiative is a coordinated attempt to create a #SugarSmartCity, to be promoted on social media and in local schools.
The campaign aims to have its message heard in schools, across the restaurant and catering industries, changes made to vending machines, and supermarkets.
Brighton and Hove City Council Director of Public Health, Tom Scanlon, said: “Over the years sugar has been creeping into our diet, sometimes in ways we don’t even suspect. We are consuming more sugar than ever before and this is having extremely serious effects on levels of tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.
“The purpose of this Sugar Smart debate is to raise awareness and for us all to take a look at what we can do at homes, in schools and in restaurants, cafes and takeaways to address this. We’re really pleased to have Jamie Oliver’s team as a partner in this.
“I would encourage everyone to get involved in the discussion on Twitter and social media using the #SugarSmartCity hashtag so that we can truly be a Sugar Smart city.”
Jamie Oliver commented: “I am delighted that Brighton and Hove City Council is launching a city-wide initiative to raise awareness around the dangers of consuming too much sugar and the link to obesity and diet related diseases.
“Locally based initiatives such as #SugarSmartCity, are exactly what we need to try to tackle the rise in obesity and diet related disease. Today, studies show, that 1 in 3 of our children are leaving primary school overweight or obese and these children are likely to be the first generation that will have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
“I have recently launched a voluntary levy on sugary drinks in my own restaurants to help raise funds for the Children’s Health Fund which will be used to support health and educational programmes across the UK. I believe it’s every child’s human right to understand where their food comes from, how to cook it and what effect it has on their bodies. Only through this knowledge will they be able to make the right choices to lead healthier, happier lives.
“Brighton and Hove City Council is leading the way with Sugar Smart and I hope that we can see real and significant change across the city giving the children of Brighton and Hove a healthier future. I also hope this inspires other councils around the UK to follow Brighton and Hove’s lead.”