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UK football clubs team up to help tackle sugary drinks

Copyrights: Healthy Stadia

UK football clubs team up to help tackle sugary drinks

As the temperature continues to rise outside, three football clubs in North West England have teamed-up with Healthy Stadia to help children Give Up Loving Pop this summer.

Using the power of their club’s badge, community coaches from Accrington Stanley, Fleetwood Town and Preston North End will encourage school children to cut back on sugary drinks and to drink more water and low-fat milk.

Whilst many people are aware that excess consumption of sugar, particularly sugary drinks, can lead to tooth decay, fewer are aware of the link between high-sugar drinks and weight gain.

In the long-term, regular consumption of sugary drinks can increase the likelihood of developing other serious health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and various forms of cancer.

Data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) also reveals that 4 in 10 Year 6 children in Hyndburn (39.3%) and 3 in 10 Year 6 children in Preston (31.8%) and Wyre (29.1%) carry excess weight.

And the situation in the North West is no better when it comes to oral health, with more than one in three children (33.9%) having obvious dental decay at age five, compared to the England average of 23.3%.

However, Hyndburn (45.8%) and Preston (39.6%), two of the Give Up Loving Pop delivery areas, have considerably higher rates of children with obvious decay at age 5, underlining the need for effective interventions at the earliest possible stage.

To help tackle this, specially trained community coaches will deliver classroom-based games and physical activities to Year 5 children that will teach them why it is important to look after their teeth and gums, how to read and interpret food labels on bottles or cans of drinks, and why hydration is important for their education and playing sports.

Children and young people will also be challenged to cut right back on sugary drinks and to Give Up Loving Pop for 21 days as part of the GULP Lancashire project:

  • At Key Stage 2, children will score points for cutting back on sugary drinks with the highest-scoring Primary School classes from Hyndburn, Wyre and Preston winning exclusive prizes from Accrington Stanley, Fleetwood Town and Preston North End respectively.
  • At Key Stage 3, young people will be encouraged to sign-up to and follow a Facebook campaign which will highlight the marketing techniques used by sugary drinks manufacturers to promote their products.

As part of the project, all Key Stage 2 children will receive a reusable water bottle and a postcard containing information on sugary drinks to take home to their parents. It is hoped that these initiatives, which will be evaluated by researchers at Liverpool John Moores University, will begin to change the attitude and behaviours of children and young people toward high-sugar drinks.

Matthew Philpott, Director, European Healthy Stadia Network said:

“It is fantastic to see professional football clubs and their community trusts use the power of their badge to help children and young people to cut back on sugary drinks.

“We hope that other football stakeholders will take note and reconsider their relationship with high-sugar drink companies, which use sport and physical activity to associate their products with a healthy and active lifestyle, which runs contrary to what the evidence is telling us – that sugary drinks are bad for our health, in particular for our children.”

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Article type

News

Author

Michael Viggars/ Healthy Stadia

Published

Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 14:02