Public Health England (PHE) has launched the first Change4Life campaign specifically promoting healthier snacks in order to help parents take better control of their children’s snacks.
Shockingly, half of children’s sugar intake, currently around 7 sugar cubes a day, comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, which can lead to both obesity and tooth decay.
Every year, children in the UK are consuming almost 400 biscuits; more than 120 cakes, buns and pastries; around 100 portions of sweets; nearly 70 of both chocolate bars and ice creams; washed down with over 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.
The new Change4Life campaign encourages parents to look for ‘100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ to help them purchase healthier snacks than the ones they currently buy.
Parents can also get money-off vouchers from Change4Life to help them try healthier snack options, including malt loaf, lower-sugar fromage frais, and drinks with no added sugar.
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England, said:
“The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar. Children are having unhealthy snacks throughout the day and parents have told us they’re concerned.”
“To make it easier for busy families, we’ve developed a simple rule of thumb to help them move towards healthier snacking – look for 100 calories snacks, two a day max.”
A staggering one-third of children are leaving primary school overweight or obese. Tackling obesity requires wider action and is not just limited to individual efforts from parents. PHE is also working closely with the food industry to cut 20% of sugar from the products children consume most by 2020, with work to reduce calories due to start in 2018.