Community coaches from the Community Trust will deliver high-sugar drinks education to school children as part of a new campaign to tackle overweight, obesity and poor oral health in the region.

Lancashire County Council’s (LCC) Public Health Department has teamed up with Healthy Stadia and our food and nutrition partner Food Active to implement a school-based campaign to help children learn more about the short and long-term impacts of drinking sugary drinks.

The campaign – Give Up Loving Pop or GULP – will see community coaches from Preston North End, Fleetwood Town and Accrington Stanley deliver a series of sessions in primary schools, and challenge children to cut back on sugary drinks for 21 days.

Using the power of sport, and the clubs’ badges, community coaches will raise awareness of the health harms of sugary drinks, familiarise children with reading and understanding food and drink labels, and educate them on the benefits of drinking water in terms of educational attainment and sporting performance. GULP-Logo-1

Each session is composed of a short classroom-based introduction to a topic followed by a 30-minute physical activity session, with health-promoting messages delivered through games and activities helping to embed healthy behaviours.

The project was commissioned in response to data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) in 2016/17 that found a total of 7,262 reception and Year-6 age children from across Lancashire were living with excess weight.

In terms of oral health, 32% of Lancashire-12 area’s five-year-olds had experience of dental decay with one or more teeth that were decayed to dentinal level, extracted or filled because of caries; this was significantly higher than the England average of 24.7%.

Matt Hilton, Director of Community said,  “We are excited to be part of this campaign and will be working in conjunction with local dentists to raise general awareness of the amount of sugar in sugary drinks and the associated health harms, and to reduce the number of sugary drinks consumed by the target group”.