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National drive to cut sugar intake

Wednesday January 2nd, 2019

Children in England have consumed 18 years’ worth of sugar by the time they are ten, campaigners claimed today.

The number is equivalent to every child consuming eight sugar cubes more than necessary daily, according to Public Health England.

The organisation’s new Change4Life 'make a swap when you next shop' campaign suggests several ways in which families can make simple swaps to their everyday food and drinks, to cut back on sugar.

Figures show that most of the excess sugar in children's diets is contained in sugary drinks, sweets, biscuits, cakes, desserts, higher-sugar breakfast cereals and higher-sugar yoghurts.

The campaign has a website providing tips, meal ideas and prizes, and many shops will be highlighting healthier options in-store and in their own advertising.

Commenting on the campaign today (2 January), June O’Sullivan of London Early Years Foundation says: "It's no surprise that ten-year olds in the UK have consumed 18 years’ worth of sugar given that almost a quarter of British children are overweight by the time they start primary school.

"It remains imperative that parents play their part by making more informed choices when out shopping. However, there still needs to be a national coherent, connected and well communicated government strategy."

Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance added: “With one in three children leaving primary school with excess weight or obesity, initiatives that help families to make healthier choices are welcome.

"Government proposals to restrict junk food marketing, tackle price and place-based promotions and ensure calorie labelling in cafes and restaurants will, if fully implemented, make progress towards reversing our current worrying obesity trends.

“But the food industry must also do their bit, cutting sugar levels from their products in line with Government’s reformulation programme.”

Dr Max Davie of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said: "Campaigns like this play a crucial part in helping families make informed choices about the food they choose to eat but sometimes it isn’t that easy.

“We need the Government to bring in clear front of pack labelling on all foods, to help families make these important decisions.”

Tags: Child Health | Diet & Food | NHS | UK News

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