Warrington Borough Council is supporting parents to take steps towards helping their children to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet.
The council’s public health team is promoting Change4Life’s campaign, “Sugar Smart”. As part of the campaign, a new smartphone app has been launched which aims to help people see how much sugar there is in everyday food and drink.
The free app works by scanning the barcode of products and revealing the amount of total sugar it contains in cubes and grams.
The campaign has been launched following revelations that four to ten year olds in England consume over 5,500 sugar cubes a year – the average weight of a five year old (22kg).
In Warrington in 2013/14, 20% of reception children were classed as being either overweight or obese (8% obese; 12% overweight) and 31% of Year 6 children were classed as being either overweight or obese (16% obese; 15% overweight).
Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults making them more prone to a range of serious health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes. There are now 2.5 million people suffering from Type 2 diabetes in the UK, 90% of whom are overweight or obese.
Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, executive board member for public health and wellbeing, said: “The statistics are extremely concerning and it’s essential that we all take action to reduce the sugar intake of our children.
“We want to support local families to eat well, move more and live longer. Taking steps to improve diet can help lower the risk of long term health problems.
“We’re encouraging parents to download the Sugar Smart app and sign up to Change4Life to receive ongoing support, advice and tips for a healthy and happy lifestyle, but most importantly, to take control of the amount of sugar their families consume and give them the chance of a healthier and happier life in the future.
“The healthy changes don’t need to stop with just lowering sugar intake. Using the red, amber and green colour coding system on food labels can help to guide families towards foods that are lower in fat, sugar and salt. By choosing more ‘greens’ (low) and ‘ambers’ (mediums) and fewer ‘reds’ (high), it’s easier to achieve a healthy balance”.
Visit the Change4Life website and watch the new Sugar Smart film to learn more about the health harms of eating and drinking too much sugar, plus lots more tips, vouchers and recipes to help your family be on the lookout for lurking sugar.