UK children eat 18 years worth of sugar before they reach 10: Report

Public Health England released the alarming figure as it launched a new Change4Life campaign to support families cut back on sugar.
Public Health England released the alarming figure as it launched a new Change4Life campaign to support families cut back on sugar.PHOTO: ST FILE

LONDON (XINHUA) - Children in Britain consume 18 years' worth of sugar by the time they reach their 10th birthdays, health chiefs said in a report on Wednesday (Jan 2).

Public Health England (PHE) released the alarming figure as it launched a new Change4Life campaign to support families to cut back on sugar and to help tackle growing rates of childhood obesity.

PHE said that while children's sugar intakes have declined slightly in recent years, they are still consuming around eight excess sugar cubes each day, equivalent to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.

Change4Life is encouraging parents to make simple everyday swaps to reduce children's sugar intake by half from products such as yogurts, drinks and breakfast cereals, while giving them healthier versions of the foods and drinks they enjoy.

Making the swaps every day could remove around 2,500 sugar cubes a year from a child's diet.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: "Children are consuming too much sugar, but parents can take action now to prevent this building up over the years. To make this easier for busy families, Change4Life is offering a straightforward solution, by making simple swaps each day, children can have healthier versions of everyday foods and drinks, while significantly reducing their sugar intake."

Severe obesity in 10 to 11 year olds has now reached an all-time high, said PHE, with overweight or obese children more likely to be overweight or as obese as adults.

 

PHE is working with the food industry in Britain to remove 20 per cent of sugar from products contributing the most to children's sugar intakes by 2020.

"With a third of children leaving primary school overweight or obese, tackling obesity requires wider action and is not just limited to individual efforts from parents," said PHE.

Some popular food brands are to cooperate with the campaign by labelling their products as "good choice" options.