Is Liverpool 1 putting profits before Children’s Health?


Too many of our children look like this because they eating and drinking things like this. Liverpool 1 must say no to Coca-Cola

Last Wednesday I wrote to Liverpool One in two ways to try and ascertain whether or not they were going to host the Coca Cola Visit to Liverpool this year. I know that the Liverpool City Bid team will not be hosting it and I would be surprised if it would miss a major city like ours.

I believe that the visit by Coca Cola should not take place. You only have to look around you to see that Liverpool is in the grip of an obesity epidemic. 30% of our 11 years olds are obese with about 5% being clinically obese. Up to 60% of our adults are obese many of them clinically obese. We must take action to deal with this because the consequences are alarming. An obese 11-year-old will not develop a strong skeletal/muscular system. They will suffer throughout their lives from a range of problems for spine, muscles, skeleton, heart, liver, digestive tract and kidneys. 10% of all hospital beds are occupied by people with type II diabetes. Most of which is avoidable if people were to eat and drink properly and take enough exercise.

Successive research documents have shown that one of the major causes of childhood obesity is the consumption of sugary, fizzy drinks. That is why even this Tory Government is proposing a sugar tax on soft drinks to bring down the amount of sugar in these drinks. But that is not enough. The alternatives being prosed are full of other nasty chemicals instead! Don’t even mention high-energy drinks. All they do is give you a sugar rush!

So, what has been the reaction of the Liverpool One management company to my request for information about whether or not they are hosting this event? I posted the query below on their Facebook page. They deleted it. I posted the query below on their ‘Contact Us’ page. They ignored it. I can only assume that they will indeed be hosting the event and that they actually prefer to put glitzy commercialism before the health needs of the young people of Liverpool.

I am sure that some of those reading this will think I am just being a Scrooge and destroying the fun of a long-standing Christmas tradition. Twaddle. This is not long-standing. This will only be the sixth year that this caravanserai has taken place. Coca-Cola are not doing this to spread Christmas good cheer. They are doing it to increase sales and get more people hooked on their product. They know, as does every parent, how ‘pester power’ is difficult to resist. Their promotion at this time is to encourage pester power and to get parents to buy a product that many of them will have reservations about.

This matters to all of us the financial cost of obesity to the NHS is now £6.1 billion every year without the costs of the other conditions and ailments that flow from it

In my note to L1 I have suggested that if they are to host this event they should also allow a stand for health campaigners to say why drinking sugary drinks is not good for you. A reasonable suggestion I would have thought but not one that L1 has currently acceded to.

There is plenty of profit to be made in L1 during the Christmas run up and New Year sales. I am sure that the tills will be ringing even without the visit of this promotion. I appeal to the media not to give Coca-Cola tons of free publicity but particularly I appeal to L1 to put our Children first and join with public health campaigners to promote a wonderful, joyous and safe Christmas for the children of Liverpool and their parents. I’m not holding my breath!

My Note to the Liverpool One Management Company

You are probably aware that Liverpool is in the grip of an obesity epidemic for children and adults. 30% of our 11 year-olds are obese. This leaves them with major problems with their muscular skeletal system which will threaten their health throughout their life. At least one third of this number will go on to develop type II diabetes which is a major life inhibitor. The biggest single cause of this is the consumption of fizzy drinks.

That is why I am appalled that there is a rumour going round that you will welcome the Coca Cola Van to Liverpool. This cynical event has taken place for the past 5 years and is not designed to welcome Christmas but to increase the consumption of a product that is grossly unhealthy.

Would you either confirm that you are not in negotiations with this Company for a visit. Or if you are if you are supporting such a promotion that health campaigners will be allowed to have a stand adjacent to the Coca-Cola Truck to point out the problems that can be caused by this product. I would be grateful if you would contact me to discuss this.

Cllr Richard Kemp

About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Health Service Debate, Public Health and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Is Liverpool 1 putting profits before Children’s Health?

  1. John Hodkinson says:

    Who is most to blame for childhood obesity, Coca Cola, Liverpool 1 or weak-willed parents, who give in to their children’s every demand? There would be no point in Liverpool 1 hosting the vehicle if parents didn’t take their children along, in huge numbers, to see it.

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