Partner Spotlight: FOOD ACT!VE – tackling the obesity crisis at a regional and national level.
Beth Bradshaw is a Project Officer at Food Active with an MSc in Public Health Nutrition and currently applying to be an associate registered Nutritionist. Her key research area is the effects of junk food marketing to children on dietary patterns, specifically through online media platforms.
Food Active is a healthy weight program from the Health Equalities Group, working across the North West of England and beyond to combat obesity and associated non-communicable diseases. We work to influence policy at both local and national level and develop tailored interventions and campaigns to improve the health and wellbeing of some of our most disadvantaged communities. Food Active works with academic institutions, public bodies and third sector organizations to ensure we are working at the cutting edge of both research and delivery to maximize our impact. We are also a member of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of over 40 organizations supporting policies which influence the social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to obesity and inequalities in health.
Our key program themes include promoting healthy weight in all policy areas, sugary drinks advocacy and campaigns, controls on junk food marketing and promoting active transport as a preferred mode of transport for shorter journeys.
Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) Campaign
Some of our most recognizable work is the Give Up Loving Pop (GULP) campaign, developed to support our work around sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). Launched in 2015, the campaign aims to highlight the health harms associated with the over-consumption of SSBs by using hard-hitting guerrilla marketing techniques, such as roadshows and the #GULPChallenge (to give up soft drinks for 21 days), delivered through a variety of settings. For example, this year some of our school-based resources were delivered by staff from Everton in the Community; the charitable arm of Everton Football Club, a premier league soccer club in Liverpool. What started as a regional English campaign has now gained national recognition – cited in Soda Politics by Marion Nestle, endorsed by the Department of Health and delivered by over 10 local authorities in the North West – with many more campaigns in the pipelines. GULP also played an important role alongside other advocacy groups to push for a sugar tax, which is now due to take action in less than 6 months’ time here.
Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight
Another one of our key projects is the Local Authority Declaration on Healthy Weight, developed by a steering group of academics and public health experts. Local authorities in England are administrative bodies which govern public services in a region/area, such as education, leisure, social care, transport and more. The Declaration was developed to support local governments to develop, implement and align policies and practices that promote healthy weight in their area.
On signing the Declaration, councils commit to 14 pledges. These include engaging with local food and drink retailers and outlets to offer healthier options, considering commercial partnerships which may undermine or contradict messages around healthy weight, considering how town planning could improve physical activity opportunities, restricting unhealthy food and drink marketing within schools and their proximity and more. Since its launch in 2014, six local authorities have signed up to the declaration plus adaptations in two London boroughs, with more undergoing talks as we speak.
To find out more about Food Active and to keep up to date with our work in the UK, subscribe to our newsletter here and follow us on twitter @food_active. To find out more about the Give Up Loving Pop campaign, follow @gulpNOW and visit our website here.
2017 NYC Food Justice Awards
Thursday, December 14, 2017 6pm-9pm
CUNY School of Law
2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
Join us as we honor the struggles & victories of food workers and those that stand in solidarity with them.