Save Kids from Sugar

Tackling sugar content

Liverpool approaches cultural events by involving and empowering communities. Our public health campaigns are about empowering our residents. We aim to give people the information they need to make healthy choices. We take a ‘showing, not telling’ approach.

An example of this is Save Kids from Sugar. Eating too much sugar is leading to tooth decay in children. Other risks include unhealthy weight, and future health issues. In Liverpool, data tells us that 45.2% of Year 6 children are overweight or obese. 43.5% of 5-year-olds have tooth decay. Over 20 children under 10 visit hospital each week for tooth removal due to decay. Tooth decay impacts eating, sleeping, communication, and socialising. This is affecting children’s confidence, self-esteem, and education.

Sugar content in everyday items is confusing for parents and carers. This prompted the Save Kids from Sugar campaign. Public Health Liverpool have taken the bold step to name and shame some of the top children’s branded and none branded foods. Products include, drinks, breakfast cereals and yogurts. The campaign shows the shocking amounts of sugar in each. The website features a sugar check tool allowing parents to check their child’s daily sugar intake.

The Holiday, Activity and Food Programme (HAF) delivered oral health awareness sessions. Over 200 children attended during the 2023 summer holidays. Sessions were able to deliver positive impact on behaviours. Alder Hey children’s hospital, is distributing campaign resources through the Mini Mouthcare Matters programme. This ensures the campaign is reaching children in hospitals.

The campaign highlights the shocking injustice of high sugar content in everyday items for children. Diverse media consumption habits of different communities are recognised. As a result, the campaign has been featured on radio and TV, including the BBC Politics show. The wider promotion includes an 8-week targeted digital and social advertising campaign. There have been articles in the Liverpool Echo. The campaign has generated significant online engagement. Over 12,000 website visits and 1,241 completed sugar checks. This revealed that 73% of children exceeded the recommended daily sugar intake. 

Many services continue to access campaign material, these include:

  • Dentists, 
  • Primary schools,
  • Family Hubs, 
  • Hospitals, 
  • Libraries, 
  • and Lifestyle Centres

Making resources available in a rage of settings ensures it is accessible. 

Feedback from schools is underway, further assessing the campaign’s impact. 

Addressing the cultural implications of excessive sugar intake requires tailored approaches. Considerations can include diverse dietary practices, media preferences, and community engagement channels. The ongoing assessment and feedback process will support campaign developments. This will better serve the cultural needs of the community.

Sugar detectives video

Save Kids From Sugar logo

Campaign logo: Save Kids From Sugar

Poster with text Sugar Spies, Let's Spy Sugar in Disguise!

Campaign poster: Sugar Spies, Let’s Spy Sugar in Disguise

Sweet talk

We have had some parents telling us that their children are excited about brushing their teeth, where-as before the workshop it had always felt like a chore.

“The children engaged whilst the session was on, which the team was really impressed with. This also carried on after the session and even to the point that the children were discussing certain elements of what they had learned, between themselves.”

“We have had others who are telling us shopping trips are taking longer due to the children wanting to know how many spoons of sugar is in every item they pick up, even fruit.”

Child said “Can I brush my teeth now?” Straight after the session.

Parents and staff were taken back regarding the sugar contents in yogurts/cereals. Comments from parents and staff were that they will make better choices whilst out shopping.

We have received fantastic feedback from children and parents. Children have remembered the 2-minute rule and are brushing their teeth the right way for the correct length of time.

Parents feedback was great, and parents reported children were keen to brush their teeth when they got home and used the timer etc. Before booking sugar spies we hear from parents about the difficulty they are having with getting their children to brush teeth. It is a much-needed service and bringing them in to our services is really beneficial.