CUT down on sugar in children’s diets is the message to parents from health chiefs in south Warwickshire.
They are calling on parents to swap to less sweet alternatives to help reduce the risk to their long-term health.
Children consume around eight excess sugar cubes each day through a variety of sources such as chocolate, sugary drinks and cakes. This adds up to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.
The risks to a child’s health includes becoming overweight and obese, as well as tooth decay. Obese children are also more likely to grow into obese adults and are at a higher risk of developing preventable diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which is one of the main causes of early death in the UK.
But swapping to low sugar alternatives could easily reduce a child’s sugar intake and support them to develop healthier habits and improve their life expectancy.
Parents can cut the amount of sugar by:
* Buying low sugar yoghurts, to halve their sugar intake from six cubes of sugar to three
* Giving their children water or a no-added sugar juice drink, to cut back from two cubes to half a cube or less per drink
* Starting the day with a low-sugar cereal, to cut back from three cubes to half a cube per bowl – and try to avoid adding additional sugar on top.
* Parents are also advised to carefully check the labels on food packaging to see how much sugar is included. A can of coke contains up to eight teaspoons of sugar.
Dr David Spraggett, chair at NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know that local children are consuming too much sugar, but the good news is that parents can take action now to prevent this building up over the years.
“By making simple swaps each day, children can have healthier versions of everyday foods and drinks, while significantly reducing their sugar intake and improving their chances in later years.
“Take time to read the food and drink labels as cutting back on sugar can be as simple as changing from a chocolate or frosted coated cereal to a shredded wholegrain cereal or replacing a higher sugar drink for low fat milk or no added sugar drinks.
“If we cut back the sugar now before our children become young adults, we are setting them up for a healthier, happier future.”
Click here for sugar swapping ideas.
Click here for more information about the effects of sugar on health.