One in three children in Merton are overweight or obese at 11
A bid to reduce sugar consumption in Merton this year will see the borough council launch a “Sugar Smart” campaign to promote healthier eating.
It has recently signed a Local Authority Declaration, committing to reduce sugar consumption in the borough, where one in three children are either overweight or obese by the age of 11.
Drafted by London charity Sustain, an alliance of organisations working together to improve the food available in London, the declaration requires councils to take significant actions to tackle unhealthy food and drink in their boroughs.
Merton council leaders have committed to measures such as combating the advertising of unhealthy foods and improving the food available at public events and on the high streets.
As a result, for the first time, Merton Council’s Morden Fireworks events in November 2018 offered a greater variety of healthy alternatives for the public.
The council will be reviewing its advertising policy to ensure that council-owned advertising supports healthy eating and will continue to work with its school meals suppliers to reduce the sugar in school meals. The council will also work with its internal caterers to deliver healthier food and drink options for staff members.
Later this year the council will launch a local “Sugar Smart” campaign that will focus on engaging local businesses, residents and organisations to pledge to take actions to reduce their sugar consumption.
The Leader of the Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “We want to ensure that children in Merton have a healthy start in life. Preventing obesity which later leads to chronic diseases is important to us. There is hidden sugar in everyday foods which we often miss unless we read the packaging, which is why we are working in collaboration with Sustain and local partners to ensure that we effectively create a healthier borough for everyone. Signing the declaration shows our commitment to tackling childhood obesity.”
Dr Dagmar Zeuner, Director of Public Health at Merton Council said: “Childhood obesity is a complex issue and there is no single solution. Therefore a preventative, whole systems approach is required, which recognises the influence of the places where we live, work and play on our health and well-being, as well as our individual behaviours and choices.”
Merton council says it is also supporting the national Change4Life campaign starting in January urging families to “Make a swap when you next shop” encouraging simple swaps to food and drink options that are lower in sugar.”
Leader of the Council Councillor Stephen Alambritis is pictured above with Dr Dagmar Zeuner, Director of Public Health, and the signed Local Authority Declaration.
January 13, 2019