An innovative scheme has won a national award for its work on reducing the sugar content by over 40% in primary school meals.
The West Sussex County Council sugar reduction programme was judged to be in the top three of 300 entries at the annual Public Health England Conference 2016.
Thanks to the programme:
• West Sussex primary school meals now have over one kilo less sugar per child, over an average school year.
• In total, 30,000 children per day benefit
• Daily sugar consumption has reduced from 16g to 9g (over one kilo less sugar per child, per average school year)
• Over the school year, the amount of sugar now removed from primary school meals across the county is equal to three double decker London buses.
John Figgins, County Catering Service Manager, said: “We were one of only three winners from 300 entries, from public health professionals across the country, so this is an excellent result for the work on our school meal sugar reduction programme.
“We have reduced the sugar over a 20 month period so that changes have been less noticeable and indeed our customer feedback and meal uptake has remained very positive.”
Christine Field, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, said: “The team can feel very proud of the impact this work has had on children’s lives, as the amount of sugar reduced is of a not insignificant amount.
“The work they have done in making meals healthier for children has also received fantastic feedback from other local authorities, Public Health England, and international delegates.
“Our team will continue to work hard to make our children’s lives healthier and we are all very proud of them.”
The scheme will continue and moves into its next phase that is based around awareness with Chartwells, the school meals partner, commencing a programme of school activities around healthy eating and lifestyles.
County Catering Service Manager, John Figgins, and Public Health Project Officer, Alison Thomson, accepted the award for the programme, which was judged in the top three of 300 entries at the annual Public Health England Conference 2016.
Alison, and Sue Carmichael, Public Health Lead for Healthy Lifestyles, also gave a presentation on the programme highlighting sugar reduction initiatives across the county, from workplace catering to school meals, as part of the whole system approach to obesity.