Praise for school bans on high-sugar energy drinks

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The government and other schools should take inspiration from two schools that have banned their students from drinking energy drinks.

The government and other schools should take inspiration from two schools that have banned their students from drinking energy drinks.

The call has come from the British Dental Health Foundation, which wants to see all schools adopting a similar approach to the high-sugar drinks.

Some 500 millilitre energy drinks can contain more than 12 teaspoons of sugar and 160 milligrams of caffeine – the equivalent to four cans of cola.

Ian Fenn, headteacher at Burnage Media College in Manchester, banned the drinks earlier this year when he realised some students were drinking more than one a day.

He told the BBC in January: “We cannot allow boys to bring in drinks that are really unhealthy for them and consume not one, but two or three.”

William Howard School in Brampton, Cumbria, has also followed suit. 

Assistant headteacher Dave McPartlan told the local News & Star: “We see this as an opportunity to enhance student learning as the evidence is clear that carbonated, high-sugar and high-caffeine drinks can have a negative impact on concentration levels and ultimately on achievement.”

Both schools have been praised by Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, who wants to see government support to roll-out bans in all schools.

Dr Carter said: “It is very refreshing to see these schools taking their own initiative and banning sugary drinks. We have supported a number of policies designed to curb sugary drinks consumption from a number of health initiatives, and still the government has not acted.

“One in every four children starting school will do so with tooth decay. It may be a slight improvement compared to 10 years ago, but it’s still nowhere near where we’d like it to be. These figures support the need for the government to work with health bodies and professionals across the country to safeguard the general and oral health of children.”

The increase in consumption of sugary drinks is one of the key reasons for dental decay, particularly in children, Dr Carter added. 

He said: “The key thing to remember is that it is how often sugar is consumed, rather than how much sugar, which heightens the risk of tooth decay.”

The British Dental Health Foundation is an independent charity. Visit www.dentalhealth.org


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