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Healthy Schools Manchester is 'relentless' in tackling energy drinks

Healthy Schools are launching a campaign to try to combat the surge of energy drink consumption by children and young people in schools all around the region.

The campaign, The Big Health Challenge, is an 'Apprentice' style project, where young people in schools are being asked to work together to come up with a healthier drink option, whilst getting the chance to make money from the enterprise initiative.

After being contacted by several high schools, who are struggling with energy drink issues, Healthy Schools decided to start up a project to tackle issues and put the young people in charge of combating these issues.

Claire Duggan, Operational Manager of the Manchester Healthy Schools Team said of the project: "We support our schools to work towards the public health priorities for the city. One of those priorities is to reduce the level of childhood obesity.

Energy drinks have become a contributing factor to obesity because of their very high sugar content".

Claire continued "But convincing young people to change their behaviour is a huge challenge and we are constantly trying new initiatives to engage young people and this is our latest attempt".

 

The main objectives for the campaign, which the young people have to combat and action, are:

  • Stop the illegal selling of these drinks in schools by other pupils, by engaging these pupils in a 'legal' alternative healthy drink that they either buy or manufacture themselves.
  • To educate their peers about the health consequences of these sugar loaded high caffeine drinks.
  • To convince young people that they are in fact the victims of manipulation and of their ability to turn around these 'trends' which large companies create in order to make huge profits, with little concern for the health risks involved.

To launch this campaign schools around the region took part in 'Drop the Drink' events. This asked schools to take part in a collection of empties of all the drinks pupils have consumed the night before and on the way to school. This stunt helps to raise awareness of the issue, by visually demonstrating the level of consumption and hopefully shocking the young people to take action.

Claire concluded "There are many bright, motivated and enterprising young people in our high schools and we need to get them to help us to determine what is likely to motivate them and their peers to make healthier life choices".