Blackburn Rovers Community Trust has teamed-up with Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, and public health organisations Healthy Stadia and Food Active to help children cut back on sugary drinks in 2022.
- Blackburn Rovers Community Trust in collaboration with Healthy Stadia and Food Active will help children to cut back on sugary drinks
- Using the power of their club’s badge, coaches will encourage children to Give Up Loving Pop and drink more water and low-fat milk
- Community coaches are using classroom-based activities and playground games to raise awareness of the health harms of high-sugar and diet drinks
- Children and their parents challenged to Give Up Loving Pop for 21 days
Many children, young people and adults have a diet high in sugar – this can lead to a range of problems to weight gain, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and poor oral health.
Research suggests that the sugar in high-sugar soft drinks makes up a large portion of added sugar in our diets. Therefore, if we can cut back on high-sugar drinks we can reduce the amount of sugar we’re consuming quite significantly.
In the North West, more than one in three children (31.7%) have at least one missing or filled tooth due to dental decay at age five, compared to the England average of 23.4%. However, in Blackburn with Darwen, this figure rises to 51% of children aged 5.
To help tackle poor oral health in the region, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has commissioned an extensive oral health programme to improve oral health in the area.
As part of this programme, coaches from Blackburn Rovers Community Trust are delivering the Give Up Loving Pop programme to 40 Year 3 form classes during the remainder of the 2021/22 academic year.
The programme consists of classroom-based games and physical activities to children that will teach them why it is important to look after their teeth and gums, how to read and interpret food labels on bottles or cans of drinks, and why hydrating with water is important for their education and playing sports.
Children and their families are also being challenged to cut right back on sugary drinks and to Give Up Loving Pop for 21 days as part of the GULP campaign.
Children will receive a reusable water bottle and a postcard containing information on high-sugar drinks to take home to their parents. It is hoped that the messaging of the programme and the water bottles will help to embed behaviours that support health, wellbeing, and academic attainment.
The Give Up Loving Pop programme has been successfully delivered by clubs in Lancashire and Merseyside since 2018, with community coaches from Accrington Stanley, Blackpool FC, Burnley FC, Everton FC, Fleetwood Town, and Preston North End delivering session right across both counties.
Gary Robinson, CEO of Blackburn Rovers Community Trust said:
Our Trust aims to ‘inspire change in our community’, whether that be related to sport, health, education or inclusion. When we learned of Blackburn with Darwen’s top position for child tooth decay in the country, we were certain we needed to make a positive difference and soon partnered with key organisations to assist in the delivery of Blackburn with Darwen’s Oral Health Improvement Strategy. GULP is a fantastic project that we are delivering across the borough to improve both the oral health and the weight status of children and young people.
Councillor Jackie Floyd, Chair of Blackburn with Darwen Food Resilience Alliance, said:
“I’m really pleased to see Blackburn Rovers Community Trust, Healthy Stadia and Food Active joining in this campaign, it is so important that children drink less pop and fewer sugary drinks and this campaign will show them the healthier alternatives.
“Blackburn Rovers Community Trust have signed the Food Resilience Alliance pledge and have joined us in our work against food poverty and health problems caused by unhealthy food. There are so many life-long impacts of eating and drinking too much sugar, including poor oral health and teeth. It can have a huge, negative effect and I hope we can help to stop this in its tracks.
Michael Viggars, Project Manager, Healthy Stadia Network said:
“It is great to see another professional football club in the North West of England and their club community organisation using their influence and standing in the area to help children cut back on high-sugar drinks.
“Oral health is an often-overlooked public health issue – brushing our teeth and gums regularly and reducing sugar in our diet can help to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and a range of other related health issues. We hope this project will inspire children to practice good oral hygiene and Give Up Loving Pop.”
Beth Bradshaw, Associate Registered Nutritionist and Food Active Project Manager said:
“Despite some sugary drinks manufacturers reformulating their products following the introduction of the Sugar Tax, many traditional fizzy drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks still contain huge amounts of sugar – up to 16 cubes of sugar for some – which can be extremely detrimental to children’s health.
“Even diet and zero drinks, which have previously been seen as a step in the right direction, contain lots of acid which can soften tooth enamel. Part of the reason we are still seeing huge numbers of children in the North West under five years of age being admitted to hospital for tooth extractions is the acid in high-sugar drinks.”
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