THE city has signed up to a campaign to reduce sugar consumption and urged businesses and workplaces to axe sugary drinks from the menu.

The Sugar Smart scheme was officially launched at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday as the Jamie Oliver Foundation joined up with the city council, Good Food Oxford and other local groups.

Businesses and workplaces will be urged to sign up to the scheme and commit to a number of initiatives to reduce sugar consumption.

By signing up they would agree to make 80 per cent of their drinks sugar free, adopt a traffic light stick system on canteen and cafe drinks, and promote free tap water.

They could also introduce a 10p sugar tax on sales of sugary drinks, which would go towards a children's health fund.

GP Dr Joe McManners, from Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said one in three children in the city had bad teeth and the campaign was hugely important.

He said: "We need an all-round approach to tackling obesity in adults and children and especially with 3.8 per cent of people aged 17 and over suffering from diabetes.

"Sugar has a huge impact on dental health in Oxford, one in three children have bad teeth."

He added: "If we can help our patients and public to have more knowledge and awareness of the sugar that they and their families consume, this is a positive thing."

Alongside OCCG, the community dental services and the county council's public health team have also joined the partnership.

The national campaign is being led by Jamie Oliver ans the charity Sustain.

Mr Oliver said: "It's brilliant that Oxford have joined us and are launching their own Sugar Smart campaign.

"They will be joining us in raising awareness about the long-term damage too much sugar can have on our health, and empowering us all to reduce it in our diets."

Oxford City Council has agreed to limit advertising of sugary drinks on council-managed noticeboards and in its leisure centres.

Free tap water will also be promoted in its leisure facilities and the council will take a leading role in encouraging businesses to join them.

The city council's board member for young people, schools, and public health, Marie Tidball, said: "The high levels of sugar content in food and drinks is becoming an issue that we cannot ignore.

"This project will allow us to work towards reducing sugar consumption in Oxford.

She added: "We are proud to be working with Good Food Oxford, as well as other local organisations towards this goal."

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