A new Change4Life campaign is encouraging parents in Leeds to “make a swap when you next shop” to halve their children’s sugar intake.
According to Public Health England (PHE), children have already exceeded the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18 year old by the time they reach their tenth birthday. This is based on their total sugar consumption from the age of two.
While children’s sugar intakes have declined slightly in recent years, they are still consuming around 8 excess sugar cubes each day, equivalent to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.
Recent data shows that childhood obesity has reached concerning rates with 8.6% of children in reception being obese in Leeds, increasing to 19.1% of children in year 6.
Overweight or obese children are more likely to be overweight as adults, increasing their risk of heart disease and some cancers, while more younger people than ever are developing Type 2 diabetes.
To help parents manage this, Change4Life is encouraging them to “make a swap when you next shop”. Making simple everyday swaps to lower/no sugar products e.g. yoghurts, drinks and breakfast cereals can reduce their children’s sugar intake by half.
Making these swaps every day could remove around 2,500 sugar cubes per year from a child’s diet, but 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.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council’s executive member for health, wellbeing and adults, said:
“Our ambition is that Leeds will be the best city for health and wellbeing. Therefore, we want to make it easy for people to make food choices which reduce their family’s risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
“Leeds recently became the first council in Yorkshire and the Humber to sign up to the Healthy Weight Declaration. The Change4Life campaign has an important role in supporting people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight from childhood onwards.”
Deb Lowe, Leeds City Council Public Health Advanced Health Improvement Specialist, said:
“We are encouraging families in Leeds to sign up to the Change4Life website to get some great ideas about swapping foods and to find out more about the sugar content of food and drink products. The Change4Life food scanner app is a great way to help parents to figure out how much sugar is in the products they buy.
“All schools will be receiving their own Change4Life school packs over the next few weeks as well as libraries and children centres. These packs contain activities, posters, ideas and songs to help support families to make changes to their diet.”
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.
Popular brands, including Nestlé Shredded Wheat, Nestlé Low Sugar Oat Cheerios, Petits Filous and Soreen (malt loaf) will also be displaying the ‘Good Choice’ badge online, in-store and throughout their advertising, to help parents find healthier options.
Customers can also find their healthier options in supporting supermarkets including Asda and Aldi, as well as in Londis and Budgens convenience stores.
For more information, including healthier swap ideas, please visit http://po.st/C4LLE.
This post is based on a press release issued by Leeds City Council