Exeter parents express concern over children’s sugar consumption

Posted on: 31 May 2017

Parents in Exeter have expressed concern over their children’s sugar consumption, in a survey recently carried out.

The results from the Sugar Smart Exeter survey, where almost 700 Exeter residents had their say about sugar in the city, show Exeter residents are concerned about their sugar intake, with 64% of respondents saying they would like help to reduce the amount of sugar they eat. For parents, their children’s sugar consumption was also a significant worry. The survey also highlights the difficulty in reading food labels, with 24% of respondents unsure how much sugar they are consuming.

The findings will help shape future plans for Sugar Smart Exeter, and demonstrate that people are worried about the health risks from excessive sugar consumption. Respondents’ concerns include the effect of sugar on dental health, behaviour and mood, the risk of type 2 diabetes and, most commonly, the impact of sugar on weight. Only 6% of respondents were not worried about the effect of sugar on health.

Devon County Council’s Public Health team is supporting the initiative. Cllr Roger Croad, Cabinet Member with responsibility for public health, said: “The results of this survey show very clearly that people are concerned about the amount of sugar they and their families consume, and that they want more information about the food and drink they buy, and healthier choices made available to them.

“Sugar Smart is about supporting food and drink retail outlets to achieve this. It’s not about being sugar free, but about having the information and choice to make an informed decision.”

The survey asked residents about the most important actions that could be taken to help them become ‘Sugar Smart’ and make healthier choices easier. Top of the wish list was healthier food and drinks to be sold in public places including leisure centres and hospitals, followed by food companies and restaurants reducing the amount of sugar in food and drink.

Organisations signed up to the Sugar Smart Exeter initiative have already started work with the sports sector in Exeter, partnering with Exeter City Football Club and more recently with Active Devon, who are supporting the campaign and taking action within their offices.

The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital has also been taking Sugar Smart action. Martin Armstrong, Facilities Manager at the RD&E said:

“The RD&E has made very good progress on meeting current targets to reduce the level of sugary drinks and other foods high in fat, sugar and salt available at outlets run by the RD&E. We will continue to work towards the standards set by NHS England and build on the work we’ve done already in our food and drink outlets.”

Action taken by the hospital includes a ban on price promotions and advertisements of sugary drinks and foods high in fat, sugar or salt, and a ban on the placement of these products at checkouts within hospital run food outlets..

New Sugar Smart pledges include from Fit Food Devon, who are taking on Sugar Smart challenges and cooking sessions, and Exeter Orthodontic Practice are promoting water as the number one drink.

The partnership will continue to recruit organisations to the campaign including local leisure centres and food businesses. A public event will take place on 8 June, from 1pm to 5.30pm, in Princesshay, Exeter, where people can taste Sugar Smart cakes and smoothies and join in activities. There is also an opportunity for people to get involved in the campaign and pledge to make a difference to Exeter’s food environment.

Any organisations interested in making a Sugar Smart pledge can go to the website.

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Posted in: Health and Wellbeing