Exeter's SUGAR SMART September challenge inspires individual changes
SUGAR SMART Exeter ran a month-long public challenge in September, with lots of uptake across the city. Personal stories showed how eye-opening cutting down can be.
The Exeter campaign, led by Ruby Entwistle of Public Health Devon, launched the SUGAR SMART September Challenge to support individuals to try something different and shift their habits around sugar consumption. The campaign also set up a Facebook event page, where people shared their personal stories, daily challenges, and support to one another.
The challenge was promoted through organisations and businesses taking part in the campaign across Devon County, as well as traditional media and social media. Many organisations used it as a workplace challenge for their employees, futhering the impact on individual behaviour and awareness of the SUGAR SMART campaign.
Some participants shared positive stories, as well as highlighting the daily challenges to consume less sugar when sweet foods are so heavily promoted. Exeter resident Carmel Glassbrook said:
Before this challenge I probably would have chowed down half [a milk chocolate bar] before thinking it was too much. I'm very happy that my cravings seem to be subsiding… One thing I have really noticed is how much really high sugar products are often on offer. It’s never the healthy options that are Buy-1-Get-1-Free.
Exeter campaign coordinator Ruby Entwistle found the challenge to be a helpful tool to engage various sectors signing up to SUGAR SMART:
SUGAR SMART September was such a great way to engage their networks and employees. It's something tangible that organisations can do immediately to go SUGAR SMART, and it helped residents to feel part of the campaign and the wider movement to reduce our reliance on sugar.
Read more about Devon's SUGAR SMART Challenge approach, and a case study on one participant's experience persevering through the challenge.
Are you interested in promoting a SUGAR SMART Challenge or similar engagement camapign? Why not time it with Action on Sugar's Sugar Awareness Week 30th October - 5th November. And let us know your plans so we can help spread the word!
SUGAR SMART is run by Sustain and Jamie Oliver, and is the feature campaign of the UK Sustainable Food Cities network until mid-2018.