Southwark Council is urging residents to give up fizzy drinks for a month as part of a health awareness blitz.
Today marks the start of the first Fizz Free February campaign encouraging locals to give up the fizz entirely for 28 days.
The council says it has launched the campaign to raise awareness of the health implications of drinking fizzy drinks, which often contain high amounts of sugar.
Making up an average of 29 per cent of daily sugar intake, fizzy drinks are the largest single source of sugar for children aged eleven to eighteen.
A survey of Southwark primary and secondary school pupils found that almost one third of them reported having sweets or non-diet fizzy drinks on most days.
Southwark also has some of the highest rates of obesity in the country; 47 per cent of all adults and 43 per cent of children in Year 6 are classified as being overweight or obese.
To take part in the campaign, all you have to do is pledge to give up fizzy drinks for 28 days from today.
Councillor Maisie Anderson, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for public health and social regeneration, said: “I especially want to appeal to parents and carers to encourage their children to go fizz-free as sugar can have very serious, but very preventable, effects on the health of young people.
“A healthy lifestyle is about more than just kicking your taste for fizzy, high-sugar drinks, but it’s a good place to start.”
Professor Damien Walmsley, the British Dental Association’s scientific adviser, said fizzy drinks were by far the biggest factor in causing dental erosion among teenagers.
“Consuming too many fizzy drinks is rotting our teeth, as well as piling on the pounds, but the ‘diet’ version is no less damaging to teeth,” he said.
“These are highly acidic and over time will wear away the surface of the teeth.”
Sarah Hickey, child obesity programme director at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, said removing sugar drinks from the diet was a “good step in the right direction” to achieving and keeping a healthy weight.
You can take part by signing at www.southwark.gov.uk/gofizzfree and also by tweeting the hashtag #gofizzfree.