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Banning energy drinks for under-16s among new ideas to reduce obesity

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Banning the sale of energy drinks for under-16s and limiting hot food takeaways near schools are among new ideas to improve the health of young people and stop the rising rates of obesity in Wales

The rising consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks among young people is also causing concern about the effects on their education.

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Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle spoke to pupils and teachers at Whitchurch High School about the new ideas for legislation the Welsh Government is consulting on to address the rising rates of obesity in Wales.

She also wants to hear people’s views on restricting the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar or salt, ending free refills on sugary drinks and expanding the publication of calories on menus.

In Wales, approximately 1.5 million adults are overweight and 600,000 people are obese. In addition, more than one in four of children in Wales are overweight or obese when they start primary school. It is estimated obesity costs the NHS £6.1 billion per year across the UK.

Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle spoke to pupils and teachers at Whitchurch High School about the new ideas for legislation

The Deputy Minister for Mental Health, Lynne Neagle said: “We want to hear  people’s views on how we can support the nation to be healthier and to reduce the number of people who are obese or overweight. Often, foods that are sugary or high in fat or salt are more readily available and promoted, making it harder for people to make the healthy choice.

“We know this is a difficult time for people with the growing cost of living crisis putting huge pressure on people financially. However we also know If current obesity trends continue, more people in Wales will die prematurely from cancer, heart disease, liver disease and type 2 diabetes. 

“We need an open and frank conversation about how we can create a step change in our choices and behaviours. We are talking about reversing significant issues which have built up over generations in our food environment. I am launching the consultation today to start that conversation.”

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The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey [i] shows people are consuming too much sugar, saturated fat and salt and too many calories, but not enough fibre, fruit and vegetables. The survey shows that young people aged between 11 -18 years consume up to three times the recommended maximum amount of sugar.

As part of Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales, the long-term strategy to prevent and reduce obesity, the Welsh Government is today consulting on banning the sale of energy drinks to young people under 16.

Some energy drinks have 21 teaspoons of sugar and the same caffeine as three cups of coffee. Research shows that children who drink at least one energy drink per week are more likely to report symptoms such as headaches, sleep problems and stomach problems as well as low mood and irritability. There is also evidence to link regular energy drink consumption with low educational engagement.

It will also ask how our communities can be healthier environments, suggesting that planning for new hot food takeaways takes into account how close they are to schools and colleges and ensures factors such as existing saturation, local obesity rates and social demographics are considered and reflected.

Deputy Minister added: “It’s clear that children and adults in Wales are not eating balanced diets, we have fallen into a pattern where foods high in fat, sugar or salt are readily available.

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“Dietary behaviours in our childhood have a significant influence in what and how we eat and drink in later life. The consultation has a focus on children and young people and how the environment near their school and colleges can have a huge impact on how they eat. I was pleased to meet the young people at Whitchurch High to hear first-hand their views and opinions, which was incredibly insightful.

“The proposals set out in this consultation would support the long-term health and wellbeing of our nation. If we continue as we are, then sadly more lives will be adversely affected by ill health, both physically and mentally.”

The consultations will run until September 1st 2022.

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Food & Drink

Winner winner, weekday dinners: Morrisons introduces midweek dinners for under a fiver in its cafés

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Amidst the cost of living crisis, supermarket giant Morrisons is introducing a ‘meal of the day’ for under a fiver to its cafés nationwide.

Every weekday from 3pm, a ‘Daily Special’ will be discounted, offering a saving of up to £3.89 on the individual product price.

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The meal on offer will rotate each day and customers can choose from British roast chicken served with chips and coleslaw, a hearty chicken tikka masala, a 9-piece breakfast brunch, a succulent British cheeseburger served with chips and coleslaw and the ultimate beer-battered fish and chips.

The offer includes a drink and vegetarian alternatives are also available.

Each meal will be priced at £4.99, which the supermarket chain says makes them cheaper than the same evening meals at Wetherspoons, Harvester and Beefeater.

Morrisons also say that kids can also eat free all day with the purchase of any adult meal, meaning a family of four can enjoy a meal out together for just £9.98.

Ali Lyons, Head of Morrisons Cafés, says: “We know how hard it is for our customers at the moment and we want to make sure they are still able to enjoy a meal out, even on a budget. We’ve handpicked these favourites so that no matter what day it is, our customers can enjoy a saving.”

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Morrisons £4.99 offer will be available in its 406 cafés nationwide after 3pm every weekday. The ‘Daily Specials’ on offer are:

MondayRoast Chicken served with Chips & Coleslaw or Cheese & Onion Quiche served with Chips & Coleslaw 
TuesdayChicken Tikka Masala or Mac ‘n’ Cheese 
WednesdayBreakfast Brunch or Full Vegetarian Breakfast 
ThursdayCheeseburger served with Chips & Coleslaw  or Vegetarian burger served with Chips & Coleslaw 
FridayUltimate Fish & Chips

(Lead image: Morrisons)

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Food & Drink

Proposal to ban tea and coffee for under 16s in Wales branded ‘illiberal’

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photo of person s hand pouring liquid to cup

Proposals to consider banning the sale of tea and coffee to under-16s in Wales have been labelled ‘outrageously illiberal’ by the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

The Welsh Labour Government reportedly confirmed that it is considering the move as part of plans to make young people healthier and stop rising obesity rates.

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The move comes as the Welsh Government raise concerns of the rising consumption of high-caffeine energy drinks among young people is also causing concern about the effects on their education.

Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds said: “It is beggars’ belief that this is even under consideration.

“We are all aware obesity is a serious problem in Wales and it is important that we take action to reduce the levels across Wales.

“However, it doesn’t take an expert consultation to realise that tea and coffee are not responsible for high obesity levels.

“It would be outrageously illiberal to ban the sale of coffee and tea to under 16-year-olds, something which they regularly drink themselves at home.”

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(Lead image: Elina Fairytale / Pexels.com)

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Tesco makes it even easier for Swansea shoppers to help local food banks and charities

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Tesco is making it easier than ever for shoppers to give a helping hand to food banks and charities feeding people in their local community, with ready-prepared donation bags at local stores in Swansea this summer.

The Tesco Food Collection is taking place in every large Tesco store across the UK from Thursday, June 30 until Saturday, July 2, and shoppers are being urged to donate long-life food to support local food banks in the Trussell Trust’s network and thousands of frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Tesco will top up all food donations made during the collection with an extra 20% cash donation to support the two charities.

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The pre-filled donation bags, available during the collection, will contain items that are most-needed by the local Trussell Trust foodbank or frontline charities supplied by FareShare. Shoppers will be able to scan the contents at the till as part of their usual shop before dropping the bag into the food collection donation trolley.

It is one of a number of new ways that customers can give their support during this summer’s food collection. Shoppers can also for the first time round up their bill at the checkout to make a small donation to both the charities.

From this week it is also easier for customers who shop in Express stores to support the charities, with new permanent donation points being placed in every Tesco Express store in the UK for the first time, meaning shoppers will now be able to donate at Express stores year-round. Shoppers can also donate their Tesco Clubcard points online to either of the charities.

Tesco’s Pre-filled donation bags

Tesco Head of Community Claire de Silva said, “This collection marks ten years of us working with the Trussell Trust and FareShare. During that decade our customers have been amazingly generous, donating more than 100 million meals during our food collections and at permanent collection points in stores. This summer we wanted to make it even easier for customers to donate as we know that every can donated really does help.”

Donations are more important than ever as the charities have reported increasing need for food.

Sarah Germain, CEO at FareShare Cymru, said: “Our charities are telling us that the need for food has vastly increased as a result of the cost-of-living crisis, and over the last year we’ve continued to deliver four meals every second to people facing food insecurity across the UK.

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“That’s why we would be immensely grateful to anyone who is able to donate a bag of pasta or tin of vegetables over the Tesco Food Collection weekend – your generous donations will help us continue providing vital support to families struggling to cope this summer.”

Danni Malone, Director of Network Programmes and Innovation at the Trussell Trust added: “Every year, we are amazed by the generosity of Tesco customers who donate to the Food Collection.

“We know that many families on the very lowest incomes have been forced to the doors of food banks to get by, as the nation faces a rapid rise in the cost of living and continues to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic. So, once again, we are calling on shoppers to give generously and make a difference to people who need our support over the coming weeks and months.”

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