AN INVESTIGATION is being launched into concerns that children are able to buy high-sugar energy drinks in local leisure centres.

A member of Bradford Council’s ruling Executive agreed look into the concerns, during a discussion on how almost 38 per cent of 11-year-olds in the district were overweight.

Cllr Nicola Pollard, who represents Eccleshill ward, said: “I was appalled to see recently children purchasing a Monster energy drink from one of the vending machines in one of the district’s swimming pools.

“Why are we selling these types of drinks to children in our swimming pools?”

“It is important to promote that idea of corporate responsibility, to get businesses to sign up to a commitment to improving public health.

“It could be things like providing water fountains to give people the option to have free water when they are out, rather than purchase a sugary drink.”

Responding, Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Executive for Environment, Sport and Culture, said she would raise the issue with officers immediately.

The government recently announced that it was planning to ban the sale of high-caffeine, high-sugar energy drinks like Monster to under 18s.

Bradford Council’s Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee was discussing a number of public health issues at the meeting, one of which was excess weight and obesity in children.

The latest figures show that, in Bradford, around 22 per cent of reception aged children were classed as overweight or obese.

By the time they reached Year 6, that had risen to 37.9 per cent. The UK average is 34.2 per cent.

The committee was told the percentage was rising each year.

Toni Williams, from Public Health Bradford, said there was a range of things being done to improve the health of young people in the district, from teaching healthy eating to encouraging children to exercise more.

She added: “It is very complex, it is not just about eating the wrong foods, it can also be about the environment you live in. It is important that we make it so healthy decisions are the default choice for children.”

The committee also heard about the MMR immunisation rates for children in the district.

In 2016/17 91.2 per cent of children in the district had received two doses of the MMR at age five. This was down from 93.2 per cent in 2013/14.

The rate of two-year-olds who had received one dose of the vaccine in 2016/17 was 93.1 per cent, which compares to 94.6 per cent in 2013/14.

Miss Williams said the goal was to have 95 per cent of children vaccinated as that level would create a good level of immunity across the system.