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Celebrating one year as a low sugar trust

Back in June 2016 University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) announced that it would start to phase out the sale of soft drinks in its premises (restaurants, coffee shops and vending machines) which have a high level of sugar. At the Time Simon Stevens NHS England Chief Executive said: "It’s great to see hospitals seizing the initiative to promote the health and well-being of both staff and patients - they're blazing a trail for all the rest of the NHS.

This was in direct response to government warnings about the negative impact of having too much sugar in our diets. The change was launched as part of the Trust’s Flourish initiative – an ambitious campaign to improve the health and well-being of its workforce.


As a nation, obesity has been on the rise for a decade or more now. There are many factors to take into account, but it’s proven that eating too many foods and drinks high in sugar can lead to weight gain and related health problems, including tooth decay.


Since January 2017, as a result of the changes, the Trust has sold a staggering 67,992 bottles of low sugar fizzy drinks, water and fruit juice to thirsty members of staff, visitors and patients from its vending machines. Jackie Daniel, Chief Executive, UHMBT, said: “I’m really impresed at how our staff have adapted to the change and the positive feedback we’ve had from them.


“As healthcare professionals, we know what a healthy diet should consist of, but we also know in modern life, it’s really difficult to find the time to get the balance right. As NHS organisations, I believe we should act as role models wherever we can for our local populations. Being overweight not only puts a strain on our bodies, but also puts a huge strain on the resources of the NHS.”

According to a recent Public Health England report, ‘Sugar Reduction, the evidence for action’, almost 25% of adults, 10% of four to five year olds and 19% of 10 to 11 year olds in England are obese, with significant numbers also being overweight.


Dr David Walker, Medical Director, UHMBT, commented: “As well as being a doctor involved in Public Health for most of my working life, aIm also a father, and I have been really shocked over the years at the ‘hidden’ high levels of sugar in our diets. Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, which in turn increase your risk of health conditions such as heart disease. For a healthy, balanced diet we should get the majority of ourc alories from other kinds of foods, such as fruits, vegetables and starchy fods and only eat sugary foods occasionally.


“I believe we owe it to the next generation to get it right now and this is why it’s so important for organisations like the Trust to take a lead. Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults, making them more prone to a range of serious health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes. There are now 2.5 million people suffering from Type 2 diabetes, 90% of whom are overweight or obese.” Dr Andy Knox, Executive Lead for Health and Well-being at Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s fantastic that our local hospitals are leading by example, promoting health and well-being for everyone who comes into contact with the sites.

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