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Hospital Trust joins national SUGAR SMART campaign

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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is helping people become more SUGAR SMART by reducing sugary drinks in its hospitals.

The Trust has worked with retailers on its hospital sites to further reduce the availability of sugar-sweetened drinks from 1 July 2018.

A sugar-sweetened drink is defined as having more than 5g of added sugar per 100ml. Some of these drinks have up to seven teaspoons of sugar per can - more than an adult is supposed to have in an entire day.

SUGAR SMART is a national campaign led by charity Sustain to reduce sugar consumption across the country. It was co-developed by the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation following the release of Jamie Oliver's Sugar Rush documentary. The campaign is co-ordinated locally by Good Food Oxford.

The Trust has already worked hard to offer healthier food and drinks choices to staff, patients, and visitors. Since 2014, all retail and service providers within the Trust have met regularly to work towards a healthier eating agenda, and have continued to maintain these healthier standards.

The Trust has worked with its retailers to make changes such as:

  • removing promotions and adverts for sugary drinks and food high in fat, sugar, and salt
  • removing these items from checkouts where people often make impulse buys
  • increasing the availability of fresh fruit, water, and healthier snack alternatives
  • providing healthier snack alternatives in vending machines.

Dr Tony Berendt, Medical Director for the Trust, said: "Our retailers have worked with us over the past few years to make sure that staff and visitors have healthier options to choose from, and we're very grateful for their support. Their co-operation has been brilliant and we owe them a big thank you for their efforts. We've already made sure that 70 percent of stocked drinks are low in sugar, but we want to take this even further."

Dr Emily Dobell from the Trust's Public Health Team, said: "Sugary drinks can make it very easy for someone to go over their recommended daily sugar intake and accidentally over-consume calories.

"The SUGAR SMART campaign is a useful opportunity to think about how much sugar is in our food and drinks. Not everyone will realise, for example, that some drinks contain more sugar than an adult is supposed to have in an entire day. These are 'empty' calories and can lead to unintentional weight gain.

"We'd like to encourage people to think about their lifestyle and health more positively and this is just one part of our strategy to make our hospitals healthier. The main aim is to make sure that healthier alternatives are always available and allow people to make the best choice for them."

Future plans, due to be achieved by spring 2019, include making sure that 80 percent of confectionary and sweets on sale are below 250kcal, and that 75 percent of pre-packed sandwiches and meals are below 400kcal with less than 5g of saturated fat per 100g.

The Trust's Here for Health team, based in the Outpatients Blue Area on level two of the John Radcliffe Hospital, is on hand to help both staff and patients maintain a healthy weight, reduce their sugar consumption and eat healthily.

The Here for Health Centre is open Monday to Friday 9.00 - 5.00pm. Patients, staff, and visitors can drop in to chat to them - there's no need for an appointment.