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Borough’s schools to Give Up Loving Pop

17 January 2018

School students taking part in the challenge. Two schools in the borough of Rochdale are set to give up sugary drinks this month in a bid to raise awareness of the damage too much sugar can have on children's health.

105 pupils for years 4 and 6 at St Luke's C Of E Primary School, Heywood and Sacred Heart R C Primary School, Rochdale, are to be the first in the borough to take part in the Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) Challenge, which will see them giving up sugary drinks like cola, flavoured water, milkshakes and energy drinks for the healthier alternatives of water or low-fat milk.

'This is a wonderful, fun way to educate our children'

Chesca Fisher year 4 teacher at St Luke's Primary School Heywood, said: "Children have no idea about the effect that sugar has on their bodies, this is a wonderful, fun way to educate our children."

The borough's first GULP Challenge will run for 21 days starting on Monday, 22 January 2018 to help the children understand the nutritional content of sugary drinks and prevent the health harms related to overconsumption of them.

Research shows that drinking a single 330ml can of sugary pop per day can:

  • Cause people to store over a stone of harmful fat in a year
  • Take a child over their maximum recommended daily intake of sugar
  • Cause tooth decay
  • increase the risk of dying from heart disease by a third
  • increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes

To combat this, pupils at the schools will be given a water bottle and an information leaflet to encourage them to complete the challenge, alongside a fun, informative and interactive 10 week education programme reinforcing the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle.

Parents, grandparents, other family members and friends are also being encouraged to take part in the GULP Challenge, to cut back on their sugar intake too. Participant will receive regular emails to encourage them to keep it up throughout the 21 days.

Faye Clarke aged 9 from St Luke's Primary, said: "I want to do the GULP Challenge so I can save my teeth and not have fillings."

Students cheer giving up pop.

Residents taking part in the challenge can enter a social media competition for the chance to win a Flip Out Rochdale experience for 4 people. To enter, tweet a 'GULP Selfie' using the hashtag #GULPChallenge.

Rochdale Borough Council in partnership with Link4Life has signed up to the GULP Challenge, founded by Food Active, as part of the council's wider Healthy Heroes childhood obesity campaign, which also encourages children to take part in more physical activity, such as the Daily Mile.

'I am very pleased and excited that our schools are taking this fun and fantastic step towards healthier lifestyles'

Councillor Sara Rowbotham, the council's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "Improving the health of our borough's children is a key priority for us, so I am very pleased and excited that our schools are taking this fun and fantastic step towards healthier lifestyles. We know that reducing the amount of sugar we eat and drink is a great way to prevent nasty illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes developing in the future; so I'd like to urge everyone to take part in the challenge and even continue beyond to see what difference it can make to your health."

A further 2 schools will take part in the challenge later this year with plans to roll it out to all schools in the near future.

Beth Bradshaw, project officer and nutritionist at Food Active, said: "We are really happy that the Give Up Loving Pop campaign is starting in the Rochdale borough because its children experience some of the highest levels of dental decay in England, with a further 38% of them leaving primary school at an unhealthy weight. That's why it is crucial to help raise awareness of the links between excessive consumption of sugary drinks and poor health outcomes, such as dental decay, weight gain and more. We hope that the GULP Campaign will really make a difference in the borough by helping children to make more informed, healthier choices in the drinks they consume and encouraging them to share this information to influence parents, siblings and friends with their drink choices too."

Sign up for the challenge before Monday, 22 January 2018 and find out more: