People are being encouraged to give up fizzy drinks throughout February as part of a council-backed campaign.

Harrow Council has launched its own ‘Fizz-free February’ to highlight the dangers of drinking too much pop.

Taking inspiration from the popular ‘Dry January’ campaign – where participants abstain from alcohol for a month – the programme hopes to reduce the borough’s intake of harmful sugars.

Cllr Simon Brown, responsible for adults and public health at Harrow Council, said: “Taking the fizz out of February is a fantastic way to cut down on sugar and make positive changes, particularly for children and young people.

“Anything we can do to raise awareness about obesity and tooth decay is good news.

“A month is said to be long enough to break a habit that is seriously compromising health – so good luck to everyone in Harrow going fizz free in February.”

The scheme was initially introduced by Southwark Council in 2018 and has built into a nationwide project – it now aims to generate the same amount of publicity as Dry January.

According to Public Health England, sugar makes up 13.5 per cent of the daily calorie intake of four to ten-year-olds and 14.1 per cent for teenagers. Its official recommendation is to limit sugar intake at no more than five per cent.

Fizzy drinks contribute to tooth decay, which is the leading cause of hospitalisation in the UK for five to nine-year-olds.

In the general population, Harrow has the worst rate of tooth decay in London – 39.6 per cent of people have decay or are missing teeth.

Earlier this month, a health and well-being board meeting at neighbouring Brent Council pointed out that schools and families must be given guidance when it comes to cutting out unhealthy behaviour.

Cllr Krupesh Hirani, responsible for public health at Brent Council, said: “One of the issues we have is the habits once children leave school.

“Of course, the work with schools needs to happen – but there is something cultural as well and we need to be reaching out to parents.

“There’s something we are missing, and we need to get together to target this.”