A total of 39 organisations across Calderdale signed up to become “sugar smart” at the launch of Sugar Smart Calderdale.
Pupils from Ryburn Valley High and Northowram and Barkisland primaries wanted to shout about the pledges they had made to become more sugar smart, which ranged from individual commitments to cut sweets and chocolate out of their diet for three weeks (the length of time it takes to change a habit), to school-wide actions including promoting and selling sugar smart snacks and holding sugar smart assemblies.
All of the organisations and individuals present enjoyed sugar smart breakfasts, concocted by Tony Mulgrew, head chef at Ravenscliffe High School, and Craig Dodson, of The Mereside Centre Cafe.
Ryburn Valley High School’s girls and boys rugby teams have been paired with players from Halifax RLFC, who are also cutting sugar from their diet for three weeks.
Coach Richard Marshall said: “We’re always looking for that one per cent improvement in fitness and motivation, and we think participating in Sugar Smart Calderdale will give us that edge.”
Mayor of Calderdale Coun Ferman Ali pledged to no longer have sugar in his hot drinks in the morning, and Coun Faisal Shoukat, Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for public health and inequalities, is going to cut fizzy pop and energy drinks from his diet for three weeks.
Paul Butcher, director of public health at Calderdale Council, said: “Data from 2017 paints the picture for us: by the time they start primary school, 21.3 per cent of Calderdale’s children are obese or overweight, and this increases to 34.4 per cent by the time they leave primary school.
“Sugar Smart Calderdale is our local response to our local challenge. The message of the campaign is that each of us has a role to play in improving the food environment that we’re living in, that our young people are growing up in.”