Children in England have consumed more than a year's worth of sugar in less than six months, figures from Public Health England (PHE) reveal today.
Children aged 4 to 10 should have no more than the equivalent of 5-6 cubes of sugar per day, but are consuming an average of 13 cubes. This means that they are on track to consume around 4,800 cubes of sugar by the end of the year - more than double the maximum recommendation.
PHE's Change4Life campaign is urging parents to make simple changes, such as cutting back on sugar snacks, and swapping sugary drinks for plain water, lower-fat plain milks and sugar-free drinks.
Commenting on Public Health England’s findings that children in England have already exceeded their yearly maximum recommended intake of sugar, Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Promotion for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:
“The overconsumption of sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity so to learn that children in England have already reached their yearly intake limit is of major concern.
“The newly enforced sugar tax is one bold measure that has been put in place to help reduce obesity rates in the UK and it is important it is robustly evaluated, ensuring the expected benefits are felt. However in the interim, more needs to be done.
“Children must be taught from an early age about the importance of health and nutrition. Government’s failing to make evidenced based PSHE compulsory in all schools is hindering young people’s ability to learn more about the foods they put into their body, the important role exercise plays in maintaining a healthy weight and how all of this can affect their mental health. This small but crucial change will provide children with the information needed to make informed choices about their health that has the power to positively impact the rest of their lives.”