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Cadbury asks children to eat two million kg of fat - to get fit!

29 April, 2003

Chocolate manufacturer Cadbury will ask school children to purchase 160 million bars of chocolate to exchange for 'free' sports equipment, in a marketing scheme to be launched at the beginning of May. The scheme has been strongly criticised by the Food Commission, in a report published today in the Food Magazine. The report reveals that if children consumed all of the promotional chocolate bars issued by Cadbury, they would consume nearly two million kg of fat and over 36 billion calories.

The Food Commission report also criticises Sports Minister Richard Caborn MP for endorsing the chocolate marketing scheme, and for allowing his approval to be expressed in a Cadbury press release.

"Most schools are working hard to improve school meals, teach children about good nutrition, and provide healthy snacks, supported by the Departments of Health and Education," said Kath Dalmeny, Research Officer for the Food Commission. "Yet here we have a sports minister explicitly endorsing a scheme to get teachers to urge children to eat more fat and sugar! Talk about contradictory policies!"

In the Cadbury press release, Sports Minister Richard Caborn is quoted as saying: "I am delighted that Cadbury is prepared to support this drive to get more young people active by providing equipment and resources for schools. In partnership we could make a real difference to the quality of young people's lives."

A ten-year-old child eating enough chocolate to earn a basketball through the Cadbury marketing scheme would need to play basketball for 90 hours to burn off the calories consumed. A junior basketball team would have to play 27 full-length games to burn off the calories consumed.*

To earn the most expensive item Cadbury has to offer (a set of posts for a volleyball net), secondary school children would need to eat 5,440 chocolate bars containing over 33kg of fat, and nearly one-and-a-quarter million calories.

Cadbury is set to launch its marketing drive in May 2003, with children collecting Cadbury tokens from brands such as Crunchie, Flake, Double Decker, Wispa and Fruit & Nut, for their schools to exchange for sports equipment. The initiative is called Get Active! and will be in partnership with the Youth Sports Trust, a charity which aims to increase children's participation in sport.

The Cadbury marketing scheme has already been criticised by the National Union of Teachers and the British Dietetic Association, and comes at a time when the World Health Organization has recommended that people cut back on their fat and sugar consumption.

Further information

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* A basketball game consists of four ten-minute quarters, played by five players.


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