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The initiative launched at Carlisle College on 19 January, bringing together Carlisle & Cumbria's public health leads, school children and young people pledging to work together to tackle the health crisis brought on by too much sugar.
Sugar Smart UK
The SUGAR SMART Summit featured speakers including Colin Cox, Director of Public Health for Cumbria, as well as council leaders and medical practitioners highlighting the city's and county's worse than average rates for childhood obesity and tooth decay rates. Carlisle City Cllr Lee Sherriff, Portfolio Holder for Communities, Health and Wellbeing, added:
Approximately 13% of Carlisle children are already obese when starting reception and this proportion almost doubles to 21% when they leave primary school. Additionally 32% of five year olds in Carlisle have dental decay. Taking action to reduce sugar consumption at an early age is therefore vital to help prevent obesity and ensure good health. Launching SUGAR SMART in Carlisle means we can work together to make the district a healthier place for all residents and help individuals to make informed choices.
The sobering statistics were met with pledges from across the city's organisations to take action on sugar reduction, and great ideas from school children on what schools and businesses can do to help them make healthier choices. Children from Newlaithe's Infant School asked that restaurants and cafes display easy to read info on menus highlighting healthy options, while St. Bede's School students asked businesses selling food to make sugary items more costly and cease promoting junk food.
The launch also saw the premiere of the SUGAR SMART Carlisle documentary produced by students from Carlisle College. The team interviewed local health advocates and individuals about the impacts of sugar overconsumption in Carlisle, and what can be done to improve the lives of the city's residents.
SUGAR SMART Carlisle is led by Food Carlisle Partnership, which is one of 16 cities and boroughs that had received Sustainable Food Cities grants to develop their sugar reduction initiatives. Organisations that have signed up to the SUGAR SMART Carlisle Project include Carlisle City Council, Carlisle College, Carlisle Youth Council, Glenmore Trust, Phunkyfoods, MokyFit, iCan Health and Fitness, Cumberland Football Association and Barnardo’s.
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