Over 40 organisations, directors of public health and elected members representing 28 local areas joined SUGAR SMART UK in urging Coca-Cola to stop promoting free sugary drinks to the general public, and in particular to children.
The annual Coca-Cola Christmas Truck Tour commenced on Saturday 10th of November in Glasgow, where childhood tooth decay has one of the worst rates in Scotland and the UK. The tour is set to visit 42 locations around the UK in total, many of which also have above average rates of unhealthy weight and obesity among children.
Our signed open letter was sent to Jon Woods, General Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain & Ireland last week, urging the company to adopt responsible marketing practices and stop promoting free sugary drinks during the Christmas Truck Tour, especially to children.
Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, was one of the 44 signatories calling on Coke to only give out water and sugar-free beverages instead. She said:
We are truly disappointed that Coca-Cola is starting the truck tour in Glasgow and call on the company to be more responsible. The average life expectancy in Glasgow is below the Scottish and national averages; 21% of reception age children in Glasgow are overweight or obese and 36% of 6 year olds have tooth decay.
Lizzie Panagiotidou, SUGAR SMART Glasgow Campaign Lead and registered dietitian, personally delivered a letter to the management at Silverburn Shopping Centre on Saturday, asking them to set limits to how Coke can promote its products. She added:
[This tour] counteracts a lot of the hard work we do with communities in the most deprived areas of Glasgow to improve the understanding of the negative effects of excessive sugar on their health and promote ways to reduce the amount of sugar we eat and drink every day.
SUGAR SMART UK is a campaign of Sustain and Jamie Oliver. It is the feature campaign of the Sustainable Food Cities network until mid-2018. To take action as an organisation or an individual to reduce overconsumption of sugar in your area, please get involved.
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