SHOCKING STATISTIC: Children consume 5,500 sugar cubes a year - the same weight as a five-year-old

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A new campaign has been launched by Public Health England encouraging parents to get ‘Sugar Smart’ and take control of their children’s sugar intake.

The Change4Life campaign follows revelations that four to 10-year-olds consume an estimated 5,500 sugar cubes a year (22kg), weighing the same as an average five-year-old.

Currently 24.2 per cent of four to five-year-olds are overweight or obese in North Lincolnshire increasing to 34.9 per cent in 10 to 11-year-olds.3 This means they are more likely to become obese adults who are more prone to a range of serious health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes.4 Nationally, there are now 2.5 million people suffering from Type 2 diabetes, 90 per cent of which are overweight or obese.

A new Sugar Smart app has been launched to help parents to see how much sugar there is in everyday food and drink. The free app works by scanning the barcode of products and revealing the amount of total sugar it contains in cubes and grams.

Change4Life has created an eye-opening short film that warns parents about the health harms of eating and drinking too much sugar, including becoming overweight and tooth decay.7 The film brings to life the excessive amount of sugar consumed by the average child per year; currently three times more than the new maximum recommended daily amount.

The campaign reveals the sugar content of everyday food and drunk; a 43g chocolate bar contains six cubes of sugar, a 200ml juice drink contains over five cubes and there are nine sugar cubes in a can of cola, instantly taking children up to or over their recommended maximum for the day.

Councillor Rob Waltham, cabinet member for Health, Strategic Projects and Regeneration, said: “The latest child obesity figures for North Lincolnshire 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 North Lincolnshire 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. As well as reducing your sugar intake this should be balanced with regular exercise.”

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 wellbeing 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. That’s why we want parents to be ‘Sugar Smart’. Our easy to use app will help parents see exactly where the sugar in their children’s diet is coming from, so they can make informed choices about what to cut down on.”

Download the Change4Life Sugar Smart app to find out how much sugar is in the food and drink your family consumes every day and search ‘Change4Life’ for lots of free support, tips, ideas and recipes.

If you are worried about your child’s weight and want more help and support please contact North Lincolnshire’s Get Going Team on 07702275246.