Sussex

Brighton and Hove initiative tackles sugar addiction

Spoons of sugar Image copyright Victor de Schwanberg/SPL
Image caption One in four children in Brighton and Hove are already overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school, according to statistics

The "devastating harm" caused by having too much sugar is the focus of Brighton and Hove's first city-wide campaign as part of a drive to help reduce obesity.

More than 300 children were admitted to hospital for teeth extraction in the city in 2012-13, while treating diet-related diseases costs £80m a year.

The Sugar Smart City initiative has the backing of TV chef Jamie Oliver.

He has asked food outlets in the city to adopt a voluntary 10p sugar levy on soft drinks with added sugar.

The food campaigner has recently launched a voluntary levy on sugary drinks in his own restaurants, with the money raised going to Sustain, a charity working in health and food education.

The money raised elsewhere in the city from the charge will be paid into the Children's Health Fund.

'Hidden sugar'

Statistics have shown that one in four children in Brighton and Hove are already overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.

The city's director of public health, Tom Scanlon, said over the years sugar had been creeping into diets, often in ways that were hidden.

"We don't know where it is - it's in sauces and added to food on our behalf, as well as in a lot of those sugared drinks we drink most days," he said.

The first phase of Sugar Smart City will be a debate to explore what residents, public agencies as well as food retailers and takeaways, can do to combat the city's addiction to sugar.

The city will be asked to share views through a postcard and online survey, and via social media, focus groups and events, with the aim of it becoming the UK's first Sugar Smart City.

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