An important commitment of SAFE’s broader Sugar Project concerns direct consumer information. In this respect, SAFE has worked along with nutritionists to deliver course material aimed at children and teenagers (8 to 14 years old) on the prevalence of sugar in their diet and the health risks associated to it; they constitute indeed the age group most prone to consuming sugar in excess. The objective is now to spread the message across EU Member States, starting in Belgium with the campaign “Désucrez-vous! Du sucre oui, mais pas trop“.
With the financial support of the Education Ministry of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, SAFE has launched in February 2017 the first phase of this campaign. By the end of the year, members of SAFE’s team will have carried out 20 sessions in several schools in the Brussels’ area. This will then serve as an example and a base to continue the campaign in other Member States, with the support of local SAFE members. The course material has been copyrighted to this end.
These nutrition trainings take the form of a 2-hour long interactive course given to up to four classes inside the school premises. The training session includes games, videos, Q&A sessions, and discussions between children and the team.
The first objective of the course is to raise pupils’ awareness of how much sugar they usually consume. Experience shows that they usually are not aware of it, and do not pay any particular attention to the matter.
Then, the impacts of excessive sugar consumption on health are explained to children, from non-communicable diseases to other health troubles.
Finally, they are taught how to properly read food labels and how to calculate the sugar content of any given product, based on the information given on the label. Additionally, a few tips on how to avoid overconsumption are shared with the students.
At the end of the training, children are given written documents designed for them, explaining in particular the WHO’s recommendations on sugar consumption, so as to improve information retaining.