A high-profile campaign, titled 'Is your child’s sweet tooth harming their health?', will outline how many sugar cubes are in each drink. It will place eye-catching cut out boards of bottles, highlighting how many sugar cubes are in each drink, in places such as children’s centres, doctors surgeries, health centres and hospitals.
The drive is aimed at tackling tooth decay in young children in the city. Around 2,000 children in Liverpool will have had extractions by the age of five, and more than a third will have suffered from tooth decay, it said.
Families don't realise'
Councillor Tim Beaumont, Liverpool mayoral lead for wellbeing, said: “Through no fault of their own, families simply don’t realise how much sugar is in some of these drinks.
“As well as leading to poor dental health, it is contributing to the obesity issue in Liverpool which means that one in four children starting primary school are overweight, rising to 38% for secondary school age pupils.
“What we’re trying to do through this campaign is get the message across that even drinks which are marketed as healthy such as orange juice and flavoured water have large amounts of sugar in them.”
Director of public health Dr Sandra Davies said: “We are the first local authority in the country to name how much sugar is in specific brands because we feel it is really important that all parents have the facts they need when making decisions about which drinks to give their children.
“Many of us are not in the habit of studying labels on drinks and the evidence that we have is that people don’t realise how much sugar is in them, so we are taking steps to support them to make healthier choices.”
British Soft Drinks Association hits back
However, the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) has accused the public health campaign of unfairly targeting soft drinks.
Gavin Partington, BSDA director general, said: “If this were a genuine education campaign to reduce sugar intake then surely it would look at all sources of sugar consumption and not just target soft drinks which is the only food category where sugar intake is actually falling year on year – 13.6% since 2012.
“Soft drinks companies are taking practical steps to help consumers – reducing the sugar in their products, increasing the availability of smaller pack sizes, actively promoting low and no-calorie options and voluntarily extending the advertising rules regarding children to all online media.
“We are also the only industry with an ambitious plan for the years ahead – in 2015 we agreed a calorie reduction goal of 20% by 2020.”
Meanwhile, the number of five-year-olds suffering tooth decay in 2015 had fallen to its lowest level in nearly a decade, revealed recent figures from Public Health England.
Last year, a quarter of the age group suffered tooth decay. That figure had fallen from nearly a third of five-year olds, numbering 177,423 youngsters, eight years ago.
Number of sugar cubes in soft drinks: Public Health Liverpool
• 15.5 – Lucozade (500ml)
• 13.5 – Coca-Cola (500ml)
12.7 – Frijj chocolate milkshake (471ml)
• 8.25 – Capri-Sun (330ml)
• 7.5 – Tropicana orange juice (300ml)
• 7.25 – Ribena (288ml)
• 5.75 – Volvic flavoured water (500ml)
• 0 – tap water
Each cube = 4g of sugar