Sugar smart schools
The Ealing health improvement team is calling on Ealing primary schools to start the new academic year by becoming more sugar smart.
Sugar smart aims to help reduce the amount of sugar pupils consume in school. The sugar smart school initiative encourages schools to take sugar smart actions that highlight the health risks from consuming too much sugar. Sugar smart actions will also help to create an environment for staff and students to make the healthy choice the easy choice. Schools are well positioned to take relatively small steps that can make a big difference to the health and wellbeing to their staff and students.
Why become a sugar smart school?
Sugar smart activity can raise the importance of healthy diets and provide the school community with the knowledge and skills to be serious about reducing sugar and getting off the sugar rollercoaster!
Children spend six hours a day, 30 hours a week, 1,170 hours a year in school and may have up to two meals a day in school. Therefore, the school environment presents a substantial opportunity to positively influence food choices and reduce daily sugar consumption through simple changes that make the healthy choice the easy choice.
Becoming more sugar smart can have a range of benefits for schools, such as improving pupil physical and mental health. Healthier children are happier, and both health and life satisfaction are associated with better learning and educational outcomes. Sugar smart can complement the PSHE curriculum and provide opportunities for getting young people involved in making changes to the food environment.
What is the issue?
Excess sugar consumption in children is linked with poorer physical, mental, and dental health, and contributes to the current high levels of childhood obesity – one in three year 6 children in Ealing are currently overweight or obese. In addition, children are eating three times the recommended amount of sugar each day and tooth extraction is the largest cause of admission to hospital in 5 to 9 year old children. Today’s children are the first generation in history predicted to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.
How does my school achieve sugar smart status?
To become a sugar smart school, your school needs to compete the sugar smart school checklist that includes activity options under the following three pledges:
- Encourage students to drink plenty of water
- Reduce sugar in snacks and food eaten at school, and
- Raising awareness about sugar with children and families.
The checklist provides ideas of actions that can be implemented across the whole school to create an environment that is more SUGAR SMART. Before getting started, read sugar basics so you understand the facts around sugar.
Email your completed sugar smart school checklist to Nicole. If you have fulfilled all criteria in the checklist, you will receive email confirmation that your school has achieved sugar smart school status.
What do sugar smart schools receive?
Schools that achieve sugar smart school status will receive the following:
- A sugar smart certificate
- 5 healthy schools points
- A sugar smart template to help your school complete and achieve their Healthy Schools London Silver and Gold awards
- An invitation to a healthy afternoon tea
- The first ten schools to achieve sugar smart school status and receive £500 to use towards sustaining their sugar smartinitiatives.
Where do I go for support?
If you would like support to deliver assemblies, parent sessions, write and introduce your school food policies, and/or train pupils in the lunchtime champions programme, email Nicole. Select flyer to view sugar smart schools resources:
Nicole McGregor, Senior health improvement officer, firstname.lastname@example.org