Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public, is calling on the parents of children and young people to offer their children only sugar free drinks or water which is healthier and better for their teeth.
Her call comes as the Coca Cola festive truck comes to Glasgow this weekend and will promote sugary fizzy drinks in our city with its poor health record and challenge of obesity.
Childhood obesity figures continue to make for grim reading and show no signs of lowering. The latest figures show that almost one in five children are overweight or obese when they start primary school and almost one in three by the time they leave primary school. Dr de Caestecker believes if we don’t take drastic action, half of all children will be overweight or obese by 2020.
She is also supporting a UK campaign by Sugar Smart to encourage Coca Cola to offer people visiting their festive truck only sugar free drinks or water while it tours the UK.
Dr de Caestecker said: “There is a lot of excitement for children when the Coca Cola festive truck visits towns up and down the country. This weekend the truck is visiting two venues in Glasgow and I am asking them to help us provide a healthy start for young children by only offering sugar free drinks or water.
“We are asking Coca-Cola to stop promoting sugary drinks during the “Happy Holidays” truck tour and only distribute sugar-free drinks and water to the general public, in particular to children. We ask that Coca-Cola takes responsibility as an influential brand and support customers to make healthier choices.
“It is not just Coca Cola but all commercial organisations who can help tackle childhood obesity and put to rest the myth that ‘sugar free drinks are as bad or worse than sugary drinks’.
“Our population is already consuming too much sugar and a small can of standard Cola contains almost the maximum daily amount of sugar recommended for a small child. It is not, therefore, just a small festive treat but gives a very poor message to families.
“Many people, including public health officials, are concerned about the wider impacts of shifting consumption habits from sugary food and drinks to those that are artificially sweetened.
“There is currently conflicting research on the wider health implications of overconsumption of artificially sweetened products. While artificially sweetened beverages can be useful for those individuals with a high intake of sugary drinks, especially those above a healthy weight, this is only a temporary measure.
“In the long term, individuals should aim to break their reliance on sweet-tasting foods.”
For further information either telephone 0141 201 4429 or email [email protected]
Pic: Dr Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health