Are you ready to take up the challenge?

The GULP Challenge is back!

Pupils across Blackpool are being asked to ditch sugary drinks in favour of more healthy options.

The GULP Challenge aims to tackle excessive sugar intake in a bid to stop children developing potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. According to Public Health England figures, children between four and 18 are getting around a third of their sugar intake from fizzy drinks. In Blackpool, we have approximately 400 children admitted to hospital each year for tooth extractions, with a significant number due to the consumption of sugary drinks. The proportion of admissions in Blackpool is more than twice the national average.

Robin Ireland, Director of Research at Food Active, said: “It is so important to get messages about sugary drinks to school children in as entertaining a way as possible so it is great to see this initiative supported by the Blackpool FC Community Trust. Give Up Loving Pop is a successful campaign that has spread across the North West and Blackpool Council has done a tremendous job in taking this on to help children choose healthier options”.

For the second year running, the GULP Challenge is being supported by Blackpool FC Community Trust’s Fit2Go team to encourage children to go “pop free”. As sugary drinks are readily available to children across Blackpool this year’s Giving Up Loving Pop (GULP) Challenge aims to reaching out to more than 3,000 primary school children to reduce their sugar intake.

The council-backed campaign encourages pupils to take part in a 21-day challenge to give up sugary drinks with the hope they will switch to healthier options such as water or low-fat milk.

Pupils taking part in the challenge will be given a diary which they must complete with the drinks they have consumed throughout the 21-days. They also receive a free water bottle to encourage them to keep hydrated during the school day.

The Year 4 and 5 classes with the most amount of pop free days on their diary will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Blackpool High Ropes.

Last year the GULP Challenge was a huge success with over 1000 Year 4 pupils across Blackpool taking up healthier drink options.

Marc Joseph, Senior Health Officer at Blackpool FC Community Trust, said: “We are trying to engage pupils and stop them drinking too many fizzy drinks. The GULP Challenge will hopefully change the children’s drinking habits and with Blackpool having so many school children influenced by adverts encouraging them to drink pop it is important that we get the message across at an early age.

“Last year we had great success which is why this year we are making the challenge bigger and opening it up to Year 4 and 5 pupils across Blackpool, meaning we will reach over 3,000 children.

“If the majority of them complete the challenge then we can consider it another great year.”

This year’s GULP Challenge was launched on 14th April and will be followed by more roadshows across Blackpool schools.

For more information on the Gulp Challenge, contact Blackpool FC Community Trust on 01253 348691 or visit www.blackpoolfccommunitytrust.co.uk

“Food Active is a healthy weight campaign developed in the North West and supported by local Directors of Public Health. For more information visit: www.foodactive.org.uk