Local health commissioners, NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG, are urging local residents to sign up for a free NHS app which tells them the sugar content of food and drink.
The Sugar Smart app, part of the national Change4Life campaign, has been launched by Public Health England (PHE) in a bid to combat obesity and encourage families to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Public Health England tells us that every day, without realising, we’re all having too much added sugar and kids are consuming three times more sugar than they should. Added sugar means sugar that has been added to food and drink to sweeten it. It could be added when it is being made by the manufacturer or by yourself when cooking. Dangerous sugars can also be lurking in your favourite takeaway.
As an example, there are five cubes of sugar in a fruit juice drink, six cubes in a bar of chocolate, and even two cubes in a small bowl of cereal. The recommended maximum daily amount for children from the age of four is five cubes, increasing to seven from age eleven.
Dr Rahul Thakur a local GP and clinical lead at both CCGs, said: “Being overweight carries many health risks such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease. It can also shorten life expectancy. Just by losing and maintaining 10 percent of your bodyweight can gain you an extra 2 years of life if you have diabetes and are obese (have a Body Mass Index greater than 30). The app is such a clever and easy way to track the amount of sugar you are having and allow you to make that smart decision.
“I back the whole of the Change4Life programme campaign because it aims to improve those health behaviours, such as poor diet and lack of physical activity, which can lead to obesity, particularly in children.
“By simply downloading the app, you will be able to scan the barcodes on food packaging at home and when shopping and discovering the number of sugar cubes in everyday food and drink
“We all eat too much sugar, but the problem with that is an excess of sugar leads to unwanted calories and a build-up of fat which can lead to obesity and an increased risk of life threatening conditions such as heart disease and cancer.
“Let’s all make a New Year’s Resolution and cut back on unnecessary sugar and join the thousands of people who have downloaded the Sugar Smart app.”
To download the Sugar Smart app and find out more information how you can Change4Life, go online to https://www.nhs.uk/change4life-beta/campaigns/sugar-smart/home and start making those smart decisions today.