Cancer Research UK is calling for a clamp down on multi-buy supermarket offers
Children in Scotland are consuming a startling 600,000 sugary drinks every day, new analysis by Cancer Research UK has shown.
This equates to more than four million soft drinks consumed by the nation’s youngsters every week.
In the wake of this alarming report, the charity has renewed its calls for the Scottish Government to introduce laws to restrict supermarket multi-buy offers on sugary drinks, many of which are sold as part of bulk buy deals.
The Scottish Government is currently in the middle of a public consultation on the most effective ways of restricting price promotions in supermarkets and other retailers on food and drink high in sugar and fat.
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, said: “It’s scandalous that sugary drinks are now a routine part of what our children are consuming daily.
“Supermarket multi-buy deals encourage us to bulk buy, so these drinks are always within reach at home.
“And with almost a quarter of children as young as four entering primary school overweight or obese, the dreadful consequences of our diets are all too obvious.”
Cancer Research UK’s study scrutinised the number of soft drinks consumed by children aged two to 15-years-old living in Scotland. The research considered all types of non-diet soft drinks, including cans and bottles. It also accounted for flavoured water and diluting drinks.
Fet-Lor Youth Club (pictured below), which works with children aged seven to 17 in the north of Edinburgh, is supporting Cancer Research UK’s campaign.
The youth club is committed to several healthy cooking initiatives and has recently banned junk food and high sugar drinks from its own tuck shop.
Fet-Lor’s youth work manager Amy Henderson said: “At Fet-Lor we’ve been working really hard to make sure the young people who come here have access to healthy food and drink.
“They have been using our kitchen to learn how to cook using fresh ingredients and, in place of our tuck shop, we now offer every young person who attends our clubs a healthy meal, snack and drink.
“But if a young person goes to the local shop at lunchtime with £3 in their pocket and they see they can get big bottles of sugar-packed fizzy juice in a deal, well they’re going to be tempted to go for that, thinking they’re getting more for their money.”
Teenager Abigail McNab is a member of Fet-Lor and is also a volunteer at the club, helping the younger children with activities.
The 15-year-old Broughton High pupil said: “I get £4 lunch money, and my friends and I will get as much as we can for that. If we can get two bottles of cola for £1 then that makes it cheaper and we’ll club in and choose that. We do the same with crisps and chocolate and go for whatever’s on offer. If these things weren’t on offer, I don’t think we’d buy them.”
Gail Nisbet’s seven-year-old granddaughter Maci attends the club. Gail, of Easter Drylaw Edinburgh, knows how tricky it can be to do a healthy family shop.
Gail, aged 58, said: “The special offers are the first thing that hit you when you walk into the supermarket and it’s natural to want to pick up a bargain and stock up. Most of the time these offers are on things that are bad for you and make you put on weight. If these drinks weren’t on offer, people would think twice before buying them.”