UK urges parents to get ‘sugar smart’

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Public Health England has launched a free app which shows parents how much sugar is contained in food and drink products.

The PHE’s Change4Life advertising campaign, which includes the ‘sugar smart app’, suggests that on average children aged four to ten are consuming 22kg of added sugar a year. That represents about 5,500 sugar cubes – more than the weight of an average five-year-old child.

PHE hopes the app, which works on more than 75,000 products, will help combat tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes and encourage families to choose healthier alternatives. It notes that young children are eating three times more than recommended sugar limit, adding that a fifth of four to five-year-olds and a third of 10 to 11-year-olds are overweight or obese.

Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE,  said that children are having too much sugar which can lead to painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity. It can also affect children’s wellbeing, she added, “as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school”.

Dr Tedstone went on to say that 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’ [and] 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”.