Dan Jarvis, Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, is giving up fizzy drinks this month for Fizz Free February – and encouraging people across the region to do the same.
The initiative is part of a national campaign that aims to raise awareness of sugar-related obesity.
Figures from Public Health England show that fizzy drinks are the single largest source of sugar in the diets of children aged between 11 and 18. A single can of original Coca Cola contains 35g of sugar -which is 145 per cent of a child’s recommended daily sugar intake.
Mayor Jarvis said: “Obesity is a huge problem across our country, which is having a detrimental impact on people’s health and putting increasing pressure on the NHS.
“It’s sad and shocking to see that 35% of Year 6 children across South Yorkshire are overweight or obese – and Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and sugar intake, costs the NHS 10% of its entire budget to treat.
“That is why I’ve joined colleagues across the country to take part in Fizz Free February, raising awareness of the effects high sugar intake can have on our health not just in February, but throughout the year.”
Despite the introduction of the sugar tax, many fizzy drinks still contain very high levels of sugar. If a child drank a can of original Coke every day for a month they would be consuming the equivalent of an entire bag of sugar.
Fizz Free February was started by Southwark Council in London in 2018. In 2019 it is spreading out around the country, with schools and families across the UK encouraged to take part.