Pupils urged to cut out the fizzy drinks

Pupils at St Mary's learn about the Gulp challenge
Pupils at St Mary's learn about the Gulp challenge
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Young people in Blackpool are being urged to ditch fizzy drinks during March in a bid to encourage healthier lifestyles.

The council’s Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) campaign was launched at St Mary’s Catholic Academy in the town, and is the second year running children aged between 11 and 18 have been urged to cut down their sugar intake.

Around 40 per cent of the town’s 10 and 11-year-olds are classed as overweight according to the National Child Measurement Programme.

Children’s teeth are also being damaged by too much sugar.

Youngsters have taken up a 21-day challenge this month to ditch sugary drinks and switch to healthier options such as low fat milk instead.

Simon Mitchell, a teacher at St Mary’s, said: “We wanted our students to rethink how much sugar they are consuming in drinks.

“Sugary drinks offer no nutritional value and aren’t necessary for a healthy diet.

“In fact they can lead to poor health. We are delighted there has been such a positive response from students.”

The message was underlined by showing pupils how many cubes of sugar were in their favourite drinks.

St Mary’s pupil Jacob Sainsbury said: “It was weird to see how many sugar cubes are in a bottle of fizzy drink. I just didn’t know. I am going to take up the challenge.”

Coun Amy Cross, cabinet member for health issues at Blackpool Council, said the campaign was working.

“The results from a survey conducted following the last Gulp campaign showed the number of people who preferred to drink low sugar rather than high sugar drinks had almost doubled. There was also a 30 per cent drop in the number of people who had previously stated they ‘often’ bought drinks with a high sugar content.”

Read more here about Blackpool’s obesity problem