This week, two London bodies have made sugar history. Lewisham Council and Millwall FC have joined forces and become the first London Borough, and first football club to go Sugar Smart. Hooray!
This is fantastic news for the grassroots Sugar Smart campaign, which increases awareness of (and works to reduce) sugar consumption across all age groups and communities, in the UK.
Jamie explained; “It’s brilliant that Lewisham and Millwall have joined us and are launching their own Sugar Smart campaign. Trailblazing and becoming the first London Borough and Football Club to go Sugar Smart! They’ll be joining us in raising awareness about the long-term damage that too much sugar can have on our health, and empowering us all to reduce it in our diets.”
What’s the plan?
In Lewisham, one in every four children is obese by the time they reach Year 6. The council is determined to tackle this higher than national average level of obesity.
Chartwells, a major catering firm who supplies many Lewisham schools, will be producing healthier school meals and reducing the sugar content in their popular deserts. Meanwhile, Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Trust has pledged to provide more healthy food and drinks options, and to encourage the Trust’s retail partners to work towards healthier standards for staff, visitors and patients. Student councils in Lewisham are also working towards making changes in local schools.
Councillor Chris Best said: “Becoming a Sugar Smart borough signals our intention to get to grips with an issue that threatens to cut people’s lives short. In Lewisham we know that we need a new approach to tackle this epidemic which is why we have taken this bold step.”
Meanwhile, Millwall Football Club has agreed to introduce a sugar tax of 10p across the stadium, and in all their catering outlets. Proceeds will go to the Millwall Community Trust to develop a food, exercise and healthy lifestyle programme for kids.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of this campaign which will hopefully encourage our supporters, and the people who use our facilities, to think seriously about their health, and the amount of sugar in their food and drink,” said Veronica Quinn, Millwall’s Head of Catering, Conferences and Events.
What is Sugar Smart?
The Sugar Smart campaign recognises that we are bombarded by sugary temptations throughout our day. The organisation explains that obesity is actually a normal reaction to this abnormal obesity-inducing, obesogenic environment.
While recognising the importance of individuals’ efforts in reducing sugar consumption, the campaign wants to change the environment around us. Soft drinks are the largest source of sugar consumption for UK school-aged children and teenagers, and the average British child is currently set to eat their own body weight in sugar, every year, by the time they reach five years old. Sugar Smart UK is on a mission to educate!