Children are being encouraged to eat less sugar as part of a campaign to combat obesity.
With new data revealing that over 31 per cent of children in their last year of primary school in Suffolk are overweight or obese, Suffolk’s public health team is backing a campaign that calls on parents to cut the sugar in their children’s diets.
The Change4Life campaign, which launches today, encourages parents to reduce the amount of sugar their children consume by making one or more dietary swaps.
Change4Life Sugar Swaps is informed by a new survey amongst Netmums users who were polled on their views on sugar.
The results highlighted that 47 per cent of surveyed mums thought their family consumed too much sugar in their diets and that 67 per cent were worried about the amount of sugar their children consume.
In Suffolk, approximately 22 per cent of children start school either overweight or obese, which then becomes 31 per cent for those in their last year of primary school.
Children who are overweight or obese when they are young are far more likely to become overweight or obese adults and these figures demonstrate the increasing need to address children’s diet and limit future health problems.
Councillor Alan Murray, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health and adult care, said: “Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers or type two diabetes later in life.
“This campaign is about promoting alternative food and drinks which contain less sugar, and are therefore better for young people’s health.
“By making a few small-scale swaps every day, we can all live healthier lives and significantly reduce obesity levels in Suffolk.”
Change4Life recommends four simple Sugar Swaps for families to choose from, tackling breakfast, drinks, the after-school period and desserts.
Public Health England partnered up with Netmums and the University of Reading to deliver a ‘Family Sugar Challenge’: The diets of 50 families were analysed in terms of sugar content, before and during the Change4Life’s Sugar Swaps.
Throughout the campaign, families will be able to register for a free Sugar Swaps pack filled with hints, tips and recipe suggestions designed to help parents cut down the sugary foods and drinks consumed by their children, plus money-off vouchers, swap cards and stickers.
To sign up, families need to search Change4Life at https://sugarswaps.change4life.co.uk and register.