An Oxford venue inspired by a Jamie Oliver-backed health campaign is encouraging its staff and visitors to cut down on sugar.
The King’s Centre, in Osney Mead, has joined the city’s Sugar Smart campaign by promising to make it easier to reduce sugar consumption.
The initiative, jointly led by Good Food Oxford, the Jamie Oliver Food Foundation and Sustain, aims to make it easier for people to make healthier choices by limiting the sugary produce less available or less well promoted.
Two free drinking stations have been installed and head chef Max Rapacz is working on a new reduced sugar menu.
General manager Michelle Fernandez said the campaign “is an important initiative that we are proud to support”.
She added: “By taking some small and simple steps we hope we will enable people to make healthier choices.
“Hidden sugars are a big issue and as a large venue we believe it is important to do more to provide our visitors and staff with ways to lead healthier lives.”
Health experts consider too much sugar and too many foods and drinks high in sugar can lead to weight gain and an increase in the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and some cancers. It is also linked to tooth decay.
Obesity rates in Oxford are creeping up. In 2015-16, 43,231 GP-registered patients in Oxfordshire were obese, up from 42,996 in 2014-15.
In 2016-17, the percentage of obese children in Oxford of reception age rose to 8.8 per cent, up from 8 per cent the previous year.
During that period, 20.2 per cent of Year 6 children in Oxford were obese, up from 19.2 per cent.
The celebrity chef and campaigner said: “It’s brilliant that The King’s Centre have joined us in raising awareness about the long-term damage too much sugar can have on our health and empowering us all to reduce it in our diets.”
The King’s Centre, the largest event space in the county, invests its annual profits into maintaining the building and Oxfordshire Community Churches, also based on site, and its charitable activities.