The University of Brighton, which has a campus in Eastbourne, is the first university in the country to launch a campaign to cut sugar consumption – and it is being backed by Jamie Oliver.
The renowned chef, who launched the Sugar Smart drive, has sent staff and students a message of support as the university joins with Brighton & Hove City Council in its Sugar Smart City campaign.
The university intends introducing initiatives over the next academic year to raise awareness of sugar consumption and hidden sugar, including the introduction of a 10p levy on the price of sugary drinks.
The money raised will be used to fund food education schemes for the university’s students.
The university is also planning to raise awareness of sugar consumption through cooking lessons, education and nutrition information.
Jamie Oliver sent the university’s 23,000 students and staff the following message, “I’m hugely excited that the University of Brighton is joining the Sugar Smart campaign.
“It’s brilliant to hear that you are introducing a levy on sugary drinks to help raise awareness about the long-term damage too much sugar can have on our health, and empowering us all to reduce it in our diets.
“We’re facing a growing obesity crisis; with more than four million people in the UK diagnosed with type-2 diabetes, the need for action is more urgent than ever. Students of all ages need to be more aware of the dangers sugar consumption can have on our long-term health.
“I really believe that we need a comprehensive strategy to turn the tide of diet-related disease and get back on track. It’s not about banning sugar altogether – a piece of cake for a special treat is totally fine, but we need to understand that by reducing the way we eat and drink sugar, we can have a huge impact on improving our health.
Paired with regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet, we can all lead a healthier, happier life.”
The Jamie Oliver Team led a campaign for a sugary drinks tax and in March the Chancellor George Osborne announced a tax to be introduced in 2018.
Professor Debra Humphris, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, said, “We are delighted to be working with Jamie on this very important and worthwhile campaign. Obesity, diabetes and dental problems are causing untold misery and are costing the NHS enormous amounts of money.”
The university’s 10p sugary drinks levy will be introduced on all of its campuses in Brighton, Hastings and Eastbourne, from August 1.
Posters will be seen on university buildings from the beginning of next month and there will be announcements throughout the year about campaigns.
The university’s Students’ Union is backing the campaign. Hayley Wood, president, said, “We are pleased to support the university’s participation in the Sugar Smart initiative. As a union we are committed to promoting behaviours that support good mental and physical health in students and wider society. The fact that this initiative goes beyond awareness raising to include meaningful activities and skill development opportunities that support a healthy lifestyle is great news for our membership.”
To see a video about Jamie Oliver’s campaign, go to https://vimeo.com/141049331
For more information on the university’s research, go to: https://www.brighton.ac.uk/research/our-research/life-health-and-physical-sciences/research-groups/stress-ageing-and-disease/type-2-diabetes-lifestyle-and-education.aspx
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