Council declares war on sugar and junk food

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Tackling sugar, junk food and obesity will be the focus of a new campaign in Sheffield - just as the city’s public health budget is cut.

Sheffield Council wants to “resist” sponsorship from junk food companies and, where it has control over advertising boards, to stop adverts near schools.

There are plans to offer healthier food in council leisure centres, park cafes and schools and a Low Sugar Sheffield campaign will be launched.

But the new Food and Wellbeing strategy is being rolled out as public health budgets are cut. Current spending on preventing and treating obesity will fall from £728,000 per year to £658,000 in 2019/20

Council officers say because of the cuts, the focus will be on early intervention with children and families and communities. The strategy aims to reduce diet-related ill health including obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.

In particular, it wants to tackle obesity and children’s dental health in the 20 percent most deprived areas of Sheffield.

But Council Leader Julie Dore said the aim was to help everyone. She told the council’s Cabinet meeting: “I had a relatively good education and I am relatively wealthy but even I eat things which are bad for me. This is not about patronising people, it’s about understanding that people have other pressures in parts of their life.”

Three schools in the city are already taking part in GULP - Give Up Loving Pop. Coun Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, said it was about finding innovative schemes.

“GULP is a 10 week programme with lessons based around obesity and students are asked to take the GULP challenge and give up pop for four weeks. The idea is they lose weight but gain pounds in their wallet.”