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Parents in Suffolk encouraged to get Sugar Smart

Tuesday, 5th January 2016.

Parents in Suffolk are being encouraged to get “Sugar Smart” and take control of their children’s sugar intake as part of a new campaign.

Supported by Public Health Suffolk, 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, 20.9% of four to five-year-olds are overweight or obese in Suffolk, increasing to 31.8% in 10 to 11-year-olds. 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. Nationally, there are now 2.5 million people suffering from Type 2 diabetes, 90% of which are overweight or obese.

To help reduce sugar intake, a new Sugar Smart app has been launched to help show 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. Everyone can download the Change4Life Sugar Smart app via the App Store or Google Play to find out how much sugar is in the food and drink they consume every day and search ‘Change4Life’ for lots of free support, tips, ideas and recipes.

Businesses have also pledged to support the campaign through educating and helping customers to make healthier food choices when shopping. These businesses include Tesco Asda, The Co-op, Aldi, Coca-Cola (Diet Coke and Coke Zero), Morrisons, mySupermarket, and the Lead Association for Catering in Education (LACA).

Councillor Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Health, said:
“The latest child obesity figures for Suffolk 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 Suffolk 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.”

Change4Life has also created a short film for social media channels, which warns parents about the health harms of eating and drinking too much sugar, including becoming overweight and tooth decay. 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. Please see the Public Health Suffolk YouTube channel for the video: https://youtu.be/Tk05krUxjr4

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.”

As well as the video to raise awareness, five million Sugar Smart packs will be given away to primary school children and their families via schools and retailer. There will be 25 Change4Life Sugar Smart roadshows, taking place across the Country from January to March.

Singer and TV presenter Jamelia is supporting the national campaign and starring in a series of Sugar Smart films from January, she says:
“One of the trickiest challenges as a mum is trying to avoid sugar sneaking into my children’s diets. Supporting this new Change4Life campaign has opened my eyes to how much sugar is in the everyday food and drink we eat and drink. It’s so important to take control of the amount of sugar our kids are eating and act now. I’d recommend all parents download the Sugar Smart app to uncover sugar that’s in their everyday food and drink to make healthier choices when food shopping.”

Haverhill Online News

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