UK children aged 10 have consumed as much sugar as an 18-year-old
Many companies have recently reduced the amount of sugar in products such as yoghurts, breakfast cereals and juice drinks, meaning these swaps are a good place for families to start.
It is estimated that making the recommended low sugar food swaps every day could remove around 2,500 sugar cubes per year from a child’s diet.
In addition, swapping chocolate, puddings, sweets, cakes and pastries for healthier options such as malt loaf, sugar-free jellies, lower-sugar custards and rice puddings would reduce their intake even more.
According to recent figures severe obesity in 10 to 11-year-olds has now reached an all-time high, with more young people than ever are developing type 2 diabetes. Overweight or obese children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults, increasing their risk of heart disease and some cancers. Excess sugar can also lead to painful tooth decay, bullying and low self-esteem in childhood.
Families are encouraged to look for the Change4Life ‘Good Choice’ badge in shops, download the free Food Scanner app or search Change4Life to help them find lower sugar options.
Many well-known food brands will now display the ‘Good Choice’ badge on products online, in-store and throughout their advertising, to help parents find healthier options.
Customers can also find healthier options in supporting supermarkets and convenience stores.
With a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese, tackling obesity requires wider action and is not just limited to individual efforts from parents. Public Health England is working with the food industry to remove 20% of sugar from the products contributing the most to children’s sugar intakes by 2020.
In May 2018, PHE published a report recommending a 5% sugar reduction after a year - which showed an average 2% reduction in sugar across categories for retailers and manufacturers.
While breakfast cereals and yoghurts and fromage frais were among the categories meeting or exceeding the 5% ambition, some products in these categories are still high in sugar
Change4Life aims to make it easier for parents to find lower-sugar options.
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