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30 November 2015

Response to UK's First National Sugar Awareness Week

Response to UK's First National Sugar Awareness Week

Attributable to Sharon Fisher, Communications Manager, AB Sugar

As part of Sugar Awareness Week, we would like to see efforts made to provide people with robust information on diet and lifestyle so they can make their own informed choices.  Focusing solely on one single ingredient when obesity is so complex is not going to resolve rising obesity rates.

We know from our own research that around four in five people are interested in learning more about what a balanced diet consists of*.  That is why we launched the Making Sense of Sugar campaign which provides people with the facts on what a balanced diet and lifestyle looks like and the role sugar can play.

Attributable to Katharine Teague, Head of Advocacy, AB Sugar 

As part of Sugar Awareness Week, we would like the discussion to focus on all of the potential solutions to improving obesity rates, rather than solely on one ingredient.  Obesity is an extremely complex issue - Government data shows that in the UK, total sugars consumption has declined by 12.5% per capita since 2001, whilst obesity rates continue to rise**. We therefore believe that we all need to work together to tackle increasing obesity rates. As a starting point, we would like to see the introduction of a cross-departmental taskforce to formulate workable solutions across the whole of government.   
 
A critical part of tackling the current obesity crisis is also to look at the scientific evidence to inform future policy approaches that will enable people to make more informed decisions including diet and lifestyle.  The science tells us that the starting point for diet is calories (energy) in and calories (out).

We are committed to playing our part to finding real and workable solutions to the obesity crisis. However, these must be based on robust scientific evidence rather than the inaccuracies and misinformation currently driving the debate.

Notes to editors:

  • *Research conducted by Reputation leaders in July/ August 2015 amongst 2000 UK (18+ adults). The sample was nationally representative on age, gender, and region.
  • For more information, including tips for a balanced diet and lifestyle, please visit www.makingsenseofsugar.com or follow us on Twitter @senseofsugar
  • Government Family Food Statistics show that since 2001, consumption of total sugars has declined by 12.5% per capita in the UK: Annual statistics about food and drink purchases in the UK (DEFRA): www.gov.uk/government/collections/family-food-statistics
  • 2020health is an independent, social enterprise think tank whose mission is to “Make Health Personal” – Giving people the information, understanding and confidence to take a meaningful role in their health and wellbeing, and creating the conditions for a healthy society.
  • 2020health recently published a report ‘Fat Chance?’ which examines the wealth of current knowledge and data on obesity and addresses one crucial question: ‘Who exactly is becoming obese?’. The report highlighted that ignorance of who becomes obese and simplistic solutions will mean Britain’s economic prosperity remains vulnerable.
  • The report follows 2020health’s report, “Careless eating, costs lives” which sets out the essential responses to halting progression and reversing the drastic effects of overweight on individual health, employment, social care and the wider economy.
  • AB Sugar provided 2020health with unrestricted educational grants for both reports.
  • **Annual statistics about food and drink purchases in the UK (DEFRA): www.gov.uk/government/collections/family-food-statistics
  • For further information on the Making Sense of Sugar campaign, please visit www.makingsenseofsugar.com or follow us on Twitter @senseofsugar

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