PHE urges parents to take control of children’s diets

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PHE urges parents to take control of children’s diets

Children are consuming half of their daily recommended sugar intake before they arrive at the school gates, Public Health England has said.

Analysing data from the annual National Diet and Nutrition Survey, PHE found that children in England consume more than 11g of sugar at breakfast time, equivalent to almost three sugar cubes. The recommended daily maximum is no more than five cubes for four to six year olds and no more than six cubes for seven to 10 year olds. By the end of the day, the average child has consumed three times these amounts.

To tackle this issue, PHE is launching the Change4Life campaign, aimed at helping parents take greater control of their children’s diets. The campaign includes the Be Food Smart app, which helps parents monitor levels of sugar, saturated fat and salt in everyday food and drink. The free app works by scanning product barcodes, allowing parents to compare brands and choose healthier options.

The Change4Life campaign also aims to inform families of the harmful effects of consuming too much sugar, fat and salt, including obesity and tooth decay. Over 4.5 million Be Food Smart packs will be given away to children and their families through schools and local authorities.

PHE chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone said: “Children have far too much sugar, and a lot of it is before their first lesson of the day. It’s crucial for children to have a healthy breakfast, but we know the mornings in a busy household can be fraught.

“That’s why we’ve developed our Be Food Smart App, taking some of the pressure off parents and helping them to choose healthier food and drink options for their children.”

The Be Food Smart app can be downloaded for free from the iTunes store or Google Play.

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