IN A move aimed at combating child obesity, the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group has announced that it will impose a ‘child health levy’ on soft drinks with added sugar sold its restaurants from September this year.
The money raised from the levy will directly fund food education and health initiatives for children from nursery age upwards. Kick-started with an initial donation of £25K from the Jamie Oliver Group, the fund has been set up with the help of charity Sustain, and will support children’s food initiatives across the UK in a bid to stop the growing epidemic of diet related diseases amongst children.
According to Public Health England, a third of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese.
The initiative is being seen by the company as a ‘symbolic move’ aimed at helping to ‘educate the public about the dangers of too much sugar, as well as send a message to government to take urgent action on this public health crisis.’
The Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group is hoping other restaurants, and restaurant groups across the UK, will join the movement by imposing a similar levy.
Jamie Oliver adds: ‘I am incredibly proud of my restaurant staff for getting behind and really believing in this levy. I was born into the restaurant industry and I truly believe that by joining together on this issue we not only send a powerful and strong message to government but we also have the potential to make a long-lasting legacy that could ripple across the world.
‘Recently I’ve seen first hand the heart-breaking effects that a poor diet and too much sugar is having on our children’s health and futures. Young children are needing multiple teeth pulled out under general anaesthetic and 1 in 3 kids are now leaving primary school overweight or obese. Soft drinks are the biggest single source of sugar amongst school-age kids and teenagers and so we have to start there.’
Jamie Oliver is currently making a Channel 4 documentary on sugar which will highlight the devastating effects it’s having on global health, which will be broadcast this summer.