Parents in Buckinghamshire are being encouraged to become ‘Sugar Smart’, with the help of a free new app that can reveal just how much sugar lurks in the everyday food and drink consumed by their children.
It forms part of the national Change4Life campaign, launched by Public Health England to help adults manage the sugar intake of their family.
NHS Chiltern Clinical Commissioning Group is supporting the initiative, which follows revelations that 4-to-10 year olds consume over 5,500 sugar cubes a year, or around 22kg – equivalent to the average weight of a 5-year-old.
The new app allows parents to scan the barcodes of products with mobile phones to display the total amount of sugar they contain in cubes and grams. Currently the average child consumes three times the maximum recommended daily amount of sugar every year.
Dr Dal Sahota, NHS Chiltern CCG Clinical Director for Maternity, Newborns and Children, said: “We, as a society, are consuming far too much sugar nowadays and this has alarming health consequences – particularly for our children who often become accustomed to an unhealthy diet at a young age.
“Aside from the problem of tooth decay, consuming excessive amounts of sugar can lead to a number of very serious long term conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
“This campaign offers a simple way for parents and carers to be more aware and to manage the amount of sugar they put in their shopping basket, and that can only be a good thing for the health of their entire family – both now and in the years to come.”
Change4Life has also created a short film to warn parents about the impact eating and drinking too much sugar has on health.
A fifth of 4-to-5-year-olds and a third of 10-to-11-year-olds are overweight or obese. Obesity costs the NHS £5.1 billion per year and is projected to rise to £9.7 billion by 2050, with wider costs to society estimated to reach £49.9 billion per year.
The recommended daily maximum added sugar intake is:
- 19g – 5 sugar cubes for children aged 4 to 6
- 24g – 6 sugar cubes for children aged 7 to 10
- 30g, – 7 sugar cubes children aged 11 or older