Yesterday David Stewart MSP visited Charleston Academy. Mr Stewart is Convenor of the cross-party committee on Diabetes at the Scottish Parliament and visited a S1 Home Economics lesson on sugar.
Mr Stewart, who is also a Diabetes Champion, was joined by David Rex, Highland Council’s Specialist Dietitian.
Mr Stewart was intrigued to learn what young people knew about sugar. He said the World Health Organisation recommended that individuals should receive no more than 5% of their daily calories from added sugar, that’s six teaspoons per day.
Statistics reveal that all age groups in the UK were exceeding this by taking in over 11% with teenagers being the worst, taking in 15.6%.
“Diabetes has become a UK and worldwide epidemic, is the main cause of blindness of people of working age and responsible for half of all non-traumatic lower limb amputations. Getting the message across at an early age is vital,” said Mr Stewart.
Chris O’Neill, Head Teacher, said: “We were one of the first schools to ban Energy drinks in school. In doing that we worked closely with the local Spar to ensure these were not sold to pupils en route to school in the morning or at lunchtime.
David Rex added: “Learning about the impact of high sugar diets on health and wellbeing is important.”
The S1 class studied labels on common everyday foodstuff to work out the amount of sugar in cubes, as opposed to grams or percentages. By visualising the amount of sugar in products pupils were much more aware of the impact that the significant amounts of sugar in some products might have on them. The amount of sugar in some products shocked the pupils.