Health leaders in Pennine Lancashire are backing the new Public Health England (PHE) Change4Life campaign which encourages parents to “Look for 100 calorie snacks, 2 a day max” to cut children’s sugar intake.
This is because children are consuming more than the recommended daily sugar intake which should be no more than five cubes of sugar for 4- to 6-year-olds and no more than six cubes for 7- to 10-year-olds per day. Half of children’s sugar intake comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, leading to obesity and dental decay.
Professor Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health for Blackburn with Darwen and Prevention Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for the Together A Healthier Future programme, said:
“I am fully behind this national effort to reduce the amount of sugar children consume through sugary snacks. Public Health Departments across the country will want to support parents in making the healthy choices easier so as to reduce obesity and diabetes rates in children and young people. We do have to ask however, why so much sugar is hidden in processed foods manufactured by large corporations and aimed at children through targeted advertising. Some parents may well feel their efforts to resist their children’s demands for high sugar snacks are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of high sugar product advertising targeted at their children.”
Many of the unhealthy snacks children consume regularly are high in sugar and also typically high in calories, for example:
- An ice-cream contains around 175 calories
- A pack of crisps contains around 190 calories
- A chocolate bar contains around 200 calories
- A pastry contains around 270 calories
The “100 calorie snacks, 2 a day max” tip applies to all snacks apart from fruit and vegetables, as children should also be encouraged to eat a variety of these to achieve their 5 A Day.
Dr Stuart Berry, local GP and GP lead for digital health for East Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen CCGs, said:
“As a local GP I see all too often the effect of poor diets including snacking throughout the day. Snacks as part of a balanced diet are ok as long as their total calorie intake isn’t making them overweight. Being overweight is uncomfortable and unhealthy for both adults and children and it is storing up health problems for the future too. While there is nothing wrong with having snacks – to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight it makes sense to limit the snacking. Looking for those snacks that are 100 calories and sticking to two a day max is very sensible. I would encourage parents who are concerned to join the campaign at: https://www.nhs.uk/change4life and download the Change for Life Food Scanner App in Google Play or the App Store.”