Two Trust School Nursing staff appeared on BBC TV recently as part of a feature showing how Blackpool Council is tackling the excessive sugary drink intake of 11 – 18 year olds in a bid to stop them developing multiple health complications.
The story featured dental health educator, Helen Kellett and school nurse practitioner, Lynne Ridgway teaching pupils from St George’s School in Blackpool about the health risks associated with drinking fizzy pop.
The lesson linked in with Blackpool Council’s Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) campaign which encourages local students to take part in a 21 day challenge to give up sugary drinks with hope that they will switch to healthier drinks for good.
The campaign targets such groups as data held by Public Health England specifically highlights that it is the 11-18 year old cohort that are the biggest consumers of sugary drinks.
Students have the opportunity to look at the amounts of sugar in their favourite drinks and what health complications these can cause. They are also given a GULP goodie bag containing further information and instructions of how to take part in the challenge.
Helen said: “Figures released earlier this year from Public Health England (PHE) show that children between the ages of 4 and 18 are getting 30% of their sugar intake from sugary drinks.
“On average a single can of pop contains 36g of sugar which takes children over the recommended daily sugar allowance of 30g.
“As a result of this, 36% of the town’s 10 and 11 year olds are classed as overweight and this initiative will hopefully help reduce that figure as sugar in soft drinks has a contributory factor in weight gain.
“It was great to see the campaign featured on TV in such a positive way and I hope it has an impact.’’
Councillor Eddie Collett, Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “It is important that Blackpool children have a healthy diet in order to receive all the nutrients they need to grow and develop, and prevent long term health problems.
“This campaign focuses on educating children on the amount of sugar in sugar sweetened beverages so that they can make their own decisions regarding consumption.
“Parents are also urged to play their part in making healthy shopping choices, in the hope of seeing a long term change in culture.”