App launched to help reduce sugar intake as figures show children eating 5,500 cubes of sugar a year
18:30 06 January 2016
Parents in Suffolk are being urged to be more hands on in monitoring their children’s sugar intake, in a bid to crack down on health problems for youngsters.
The Change4Life campaign has been launched after figures revealed that on average those aged between four and 10 take in around 5,500 sugar cubes a year – the equivalent weight of an average five-year-old.
Latest Public Health figures also revealed that 20% of four and five-year-olds were obese or overweight, while more than 30% of 10 and 11-year-olds were.
Now Public Health Suffolk is backing the campaign, and encouraging parents to download the Sugar Smart app, which allows parents to scan barcodes of food items to find out how much sugar it contains.
Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for health, said: “The latest child obesity figures for Suffolk highlight the importance for families to cut back on sugar in the diet.
“Sugar is lurking in everyday food and drink, taking children well over the maximum recommended amount.
“We’re encouraging parents across Suffolk to download the new Sugar Smart app and take control of the amount of sugar their family consumes, to protect them from the health risks of having too much sugar.”
The project aims to reduce the amount of sugar children take, and help prevent serious illnesses in the future such as Type 2 diabetes, some cancers and heart disease.
Businesses have also joined the campaign to help customers make healthier food choices when they do their shopping.
“Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist for Public Health England said: “Children are having too much sugar – three times the maximum recommended amount.
“This can lead to painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, which can also affect children’s well-being as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school.
“Children aged five shouldn’t have more than 19 grams of sugar per day – that’s five cubes, but it’s very easy to have more.”
By being able to see the amount of sugar in products, public health officials are hoping parents will be able to make informed choices for substitute foods.