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‘Deal with child obesity by joining Jamie Oliver’s Sugar Smart campaign’ Tower Hamlets Council urges schools

PUBLISHED: 09:44 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 09:44 06 March 2018

Toddlers at Allen Gardens nursery in Spitalfields get healthy menu lunches. Picture source: LBTH

Toddlers at Allen Gardens nursery in Spitalfields get healthy menu lunches. Picture source: LBTH

LBTH

Schools are signing up to a pledge to cut sugar from lunches in a campaign to tackle child obesity promoted this week by Tower Hamlets Council.

Tower Hamlets Mayor launches council's 'healthy menus' pledge at Sunday's half-marathon event at Tower Hill. Picture source: LBTH Tower Hamlets Mayor launches council's 'healthy menus' pledge at Sunday's half-marathon event at Tower Hill. Picture source: LBTH

The national campaign to cut sugar in school diets led by TV’s Jamie Oliver was endorsed at Sunday’s Big Half marathon event at Tower Bridge by the council.

It follows shock statistics of overweight or obese children higher than the London or national averages.

The Tower Hamlets statistics show 23 per cent of youngsters aged four and five have excess weight, including 12 per cent obese. It is worse among 11-year-olds with 42pc overweight, a-quarter of them obese. Levels of tooth decay are also high, with one-in-three children aged five affected compared to one-in-four nationally.

“Childhood obesity is a huge problem for us,” Mayor John Biggs admits. “More than a-quarter of our children are overweight or obese by the time they start secondary school.”

St Saviours Primary pupils in Poplar and their 'healthy food' option. Picture source: LBTH St Saviours Primary pupils in Poplar and their 'healthy food' option. Picture source: LBTH

He is calling for schools and community groups to follow the council and sign up to the ‘sugar smart’ campaign. The council has pledges to make menus healthier in its cafés and canteens and to make sure most food and drink at its public events is healthy.

Cllr Denise Jones, the council’s cabinet member for health services, said: “There is no single solution to tackle obesity, but the campaign is a way to help make healthier choices and help raise awareness around the risks of consuming too much sugar.”

Nurseries and schools are now dealing with overweight children and are making their menus healthier, with Allen Gardens nursery, St Saviour’s Primary and Swanlea Secondary all signing up to the campaign.

St Saviour’s Headteacher Fanoula Smith said: “We hold lunch club cookery sessions for children. It’s important children know about making sensible choices.”

Swanlea Secondary pupils in Whitechapel take on the 'sugar smart' challenge with fresh fruit alternatives. Picture source: LBTH Swanlea Secondary pupils in Whitechapel take on the 'sugar smart' challenge with fresh fruit alternatives. Picture source: LBTH

Swanlea headteacher Brenda Landers said: “We make sure pupils get healthy foods during break and lunchtimes.”

The ‘sugar smart’ campaign is led by TV celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and the Sustain food charity. Jamie acknowledges that “we’re facing a growing obesity crisis” where one-in-three children are leaving primary school overweight or obese. This increases chances of developing diseases like type-2 diabetes earlier in adult life.

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