JAMIE Oliver has called for Brighton and Hove to implement a sugar tax.

The celebrity chef wants restaurants and cafes to charge customers an extra 10p on sugary drinks to tackle obesity as the city strives to become the first in the country to tackle sugar addiction.

Across the city last year there were 180 obese reception children and another 294 obese year six pupils.

This means about 7.3% of four and five-year- olds and 13.3% of 10 and 11-year-olds in the city are classed as obese according to the most recent figures from the National Child Measurement Programme.

This is better than the national averages of 9.5% and 19.1% respectively but is still far too high.

Almost half of adults are overweight or obese, which can lead to complications such as diabetes.

In 2012 /13 300 children were admitted to hospital for teeth extraction in the city with treatment for diet related diseases costing the NHS in Brighton and Hove £80 million year.

The Sugar Smart City initiative launched today will tackle sugar levels at schools, food outlets, supermarkets and vending machines at leisure centres and health care settings.

Jamie Oliver is calling for food outlets in the city to adopt a voluntary 10p sugar levy - like his Black Lion Street Jamie's Italian restaurant.

He said: “I am delighted that Brighton and Hove City Council is launching a city-wide initiative to raise awareness around the dangers of consuming too much sugar and the link to obesity and diet related diseases.

“This is exactly what we need to try to tackle the rise in obesity and diet related disease. Today, studies show, that one in three of our children are leaving primary school overweight or obese and these children are likely to be the first generation that will have a shorter lifespan than their parents.

“I have recently launched a voluntary levy on sugary drinks in my own restaurants to help raise funds for the Children’s Health Fund which will be used to support health and educational programmes across the UK. I believe it’s every child’s human right to understand where their food comes from, how to cook it and what effect it has on their bodies. Only through this knowledge will they be able to make the right choices to lead healthier, happier lives.

“Brighton and Hove City Council is leading the way with Sugar Smart and I hope that we can see real and significant change across the city, giving the children of Brighton and Hove a healthier future. I also hope this inspires other councils around the UK to follow Brighton and Hove’s lead.”

Money from the 10p levy at Jamie's Italian is going to Sustain, a charity working in health and food education.

Fizzy, sugary drinks are known to cause tooth decay, excess energy intake and weight gain with England having one of the highest rates of obesity in Europe. Residents are eating up to three times as much sugar as they should.

Nearly a quarter of the added sugar in our diet comes from soft drinks, fruit juice and other non-alcoholic drinks. The levels are even higher among children aged 11 to 18 years, who get 40% of their added sugar from drinks – mainly soft drinks, such as cola.

Brighton and Hove director of public health Tom Scanlon said: "Over the years sugar has been creeping into our diet, sometimes in ways we don’t even suspect. We are consuming more sugar than ever before and this is having extremely serious effects on levels of tooth decay, obesity and diabetes.

“The purpose of this Sugar Smart debate is to raise awareness and for us all to take a look at what we can do at homes, in schools and in restaurants, cafes and takeaways to address this. We’re really pleased to have Jamie Oliver’s team as a partner in this.

“I would encourage everyone to get involved in the discussion on Twitter and social media using the #SugarSmartCity hashtag so that we can truly be a Sugar Smart city.”

Schools across the city are joining in with sugar free initiatives. School dinners provider Eden has been limiting sugar by only offering small 150ml cartons of fruit juice, banning sweets and restricting portions of biscuits, cakes and pudding.

And St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Portslade is one of the schools leading the way in tackling sugar.

Headteacher Sarah Clayton said: “Our year six leadership team led assemblies on promoting healthy snacks along with showing children the level of sugar in food and drink that we are not aware of. The children introduced a competition to design a healthy snack with the winners from each class having their snacks created for others to try.

"We had stalls to encourage pupils to try something different and information about the effects of sugar on our teeth. The hall was packed with parents and children and many left having tried something new.

"I’m really pleased others are being encouraged to do the same, it’s vital to give young people the best start in life and educate them on the affects that sugar can have on their bodies as well as inform them of snack swap ideas.”

The independent school Brighton College has also come on board and is committed to raising funds for primary schools across the city to introduce food education for every child.

The college will raise funds and also support other schools with their students helping to support cookery and vegetable growing as part of their community support programme.

Ken Grocott, Brighton College's director of responsibility, said: “We are incredibly proud to be a part of this wonderful initiative. The statistics speak for themselves - it is so important that children are educated as soon as possible about how to eat healthily. We are committing to raising the money so that 48 local primary schools can benefit from Jamie Oliver’s school outreach programme. We will then offer trained-up sixth formers to these schools so that they can help to really embed the project.”

Brighton and Hove Food Partnership will also be issuing a series of blogs and tips.

Director Vic Borrill said: "Many people just don’t realise how much sugar they are eating every day. With excess sugar consumption linked to long term ill health it’s great to see the city taking on this big issue.”