4th January 2019
Sweet horror: Children have eaten 20 stone of sugar by age 10
A study of eating habits found the average 10-year-old has already consumed more than 20 stones's worth of sugar.
If children kept within the maximum recommended sugar intake after the age of two, it would take them until they were at least 18 to reach this amount.
But the average child is currently eating the equivalent of around 2,800 extra sugar cubes every year, Public Health England (PHE) says.
Today, PHE will launch a Change4Life campaign to encourage parents to cut back on sugar in a bid to tackle growing rates of childhood obesity.
Around a quarter of five-yearolds in England have tooth decay and one in three children is overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.
PHE chief nutritionist Alison Tedstone said: "Children are consuming too much sugar, but parents can take action now to prevent this building up.
"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."
The maximum recommended daily amount of added sugar varies from 0.6oz (19g) for children aged four to six to 1oz (30g) for those over 11.
Swapping a high-sugar yogurt for a lower one could halve children's intake from six cubes to three, PHE said.
One-and-a-half cubes could be cut by switching sugary juice drinks for no added sugar ones.
Ditching high-sugar cereals for a lower alternative could slash intake from three cubes to half a cube per bowl.
Health experts say such simple swaps could remove around 2,500 sugar cubes from a child's diet every year.
But campaigners say efforts must be backed by food industry regulation.
Nutritionist Kawther Hashem of Action on Sugar called for "more hardhitting tactics" including uniform food labelling, a 50 per cent sugar reduction in all products and a confectionery tax.
PHE has set a voluntary 2020 target for the food industry to remove 20 per cent of sugar from the worst products.
Severely obese children are more likely to become obese or overweight adults, raising the risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancers.
June O'Sullivan, of London Early Years Foundation, said: "Young children are very quickly affected by adult decisions and it remains imperative parents play their part by making more informed choices when shopping.
"However, there still needs to be a national coherent, connected and well communicated government strategy shaped around taxation, legislation, education, physical exercise and behavioural change."
Dr Saul Konviser, of the Dental Wellness Trust, said: "We have already seen over 45,000 hospital admissions last year at a cost of £36million to NHS for child dental extractions alone."
Source: Daily Express
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