New data from Public Health England (PHE) show that children in the United Kingdom are likely to have exceeded the maximum recommended intake of sugar for an 18-year-old by the time they turn 10 years old. These shocking figures were released as PHE launches a new Change4Life campaign on 2 January 2019. The campaign aims to encourage families to reduce sugar intake and help tackle the increasing menace of childhood obesity.
Children are consuming as high as 8 excess sugar cubes every day, equivalent to 2800 excess cubes per year. Rates of severe obesity among 10- and 11-year old children have now reached a record high, thereby significantly increasing their risk for heart disease, some cancers, and early development of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, excessive sugar consumption is also associated with tooth decay, bullying and low self-esteem during childhood.
The Change4Life campaign is promoting ‘Make a swap when you next shop’ among parents, which encourages swapping sugar-loaded products consumed on a regular basis (yoghurts, drinks and breakfast cereals) with healthier versions, which have half the amount of sugar. Such swaps are likely to reduce 2500 sugar cubes from a child’s diet annually. Additionally, replacing chocolates, puddings, sweets, cakes and pastries with healthier dessert options could further reduce their intake.
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."