Sheffield Health and Wellbeing charity reveals startling Sugar Tax results

26th April 2017

An innovative approach by a major leisure operator in the UK to introduce the government's sugar tax initiative on unhealthy fizzy drinks has seen remarkable results.

Health and wellbeing charity Sheffield City Trust, which operates 11 sports and leisure venues in Sheffield, confronted this major health challenge head on by adding a 20p charge to all drinks with added sugar sold at cafes and vending machines at its SIV leisure facilities. In less than nine months there has been an 11 per cent swing towards purchasing low and non-sugar drinks at a time when overall drinks sales increased. Current response levels indicate that SIV is on course to remove 1.3 tonnes of sugar the equivalent of 332,750 teaspoons of sugar 1,472 lbs fat about 105 stone in weight More than five million calories, which to burn off would take Over 51,000 miles of walking Over 10,000 spin classes or 1 hour swims Over 6,000 hours of 5-a-side Over 31,000 hours of housework So far, the initiative has raised more than £10,000 from sales of high sugar drinks. SIV will reinvest every penny in obesity and diabetes prevention programmes for young people, pledging a minimum of £25,000 to the initiative. SIV Chief Executive Steve Brailey MBE said: -Following government policy on sugar reduction last year, we decided to take a stand. Childhood obesity is at shocking levels whilst adults do not fare any better. Enough was enough. -In July 2016 SIV launched the Health Fund - a 20p levy on all beverages containing 5mg of sugar per 100ml or more sold in SIV leisure centres across Sheffield. -We produced really simple guidance and support for our customers and the public, and the response was overwhelmingly positive Greg Fell, Sheffield's Director of Public Health, said: -Everyone is watching across the world as overseas countries and cities introduce this kind of measure. It is expected England will follow suit in due course. The emerging evidence is of a substantial shift in purchasing towards low sugar alternatives. If done at scale that will bring substantial health benefits. I congratulate SIV on their pioneering work. They are well ahead of the field here, and I look forward to working with other organisations in the city to follow their example. Mr Brailey added: -We are working with a number of key partners on childhood obesity and physical activity schemes that will make a real impact across Sheffield. -SIV and Sheffield will lead the way on developing new and exciting programmes, showing others how they can make a difference. We'll be announcing these programmes soon. -We are also working with the University of Sheffield to deliver recommendations on the effectiveness of this scheme as a potential public health policy. We firmly believe that we can do so much more together than we can alone which is why we're calling for other organisations to follow our lead! For more information visit www.sheffieldcitytrust.co.uk.

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