Public Health England (PHE) has found that by their tenth birthday, children in the UK have consumed the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18-year-old. The report by PHE shows that, although sugar intake for children has declined slightly in recent years, children are still recorded to be consuming about 8 excess sugar cubes a day, equalling about 2,800 excess sugar cubes each year (with 1 cube=4g of sugar). This report comes not long after PHE reported that Children in the UK are also not doing enough daily exercise, showing why childhood obesity is so prevalent in the UK.
Change4Life has just released a campaign alongside PHE showing the ways in which we can help to reduce the amount of sugar that is in our children's diet. Reducing a child's sugar intake by just 2 sugar cubes a day can have a drastic impact on their health and general well-being, but how do we do this? An easy way to start is by swapping the products you normally buy for your kids to sugar-free versions; this is usually clearly written on the food or drink label. As well as this we should look to swap out the high sugar foods and drinks our children normally have, for slightly better options. Your child has a maximum amount of sugar they should be consuming a day, for those ages 4-6 years it is 5 cubes (19 grams), aged 7-10 years it is 6 cubes (24 grams), and aged 11+ years is 7 cubes (30 grams). Take a look at the product packaging before you buy products such as cereal, yoghurts, and drinks as these can often be the main source of high sugar intake for your children. It is also important that you take into consideration hidden sugars in other products as this needs to be accounted for. Tomato sauce is often a favourite for many children but a 15g serving of Heinz Tomato Ketchup contains 3.4g of sugar, and we know that children are bound to have more than a 15g serving. A 120g serving of Dolmio Pasta Bake Carbonara Sauce also contains 3.1g of sugar, so keep an eye on other products that you may not think of when looking to reduce sugar intake.
It can be difficult to get children to change what they eat but it is important to look at your child's sugar intake, and getting them involved in the process can be a great way to make the food swaps a little easier. Getting children in the kitchen helping to cook or prepare their food will make them feel included in the process and therefore more inclined to eat the food. Why not give your children a list of ingredients and get them to design some healthy low-sugar foods of their own? Take them shopping and let them choose between various low-sugar options, or make food fun and present their food in fun and different ways. However you choose to tackle this issue, cutting your child's sugar intake will help to set your child's path for the future and keep them feeling great now too.
Why not check out what Change4Life has to say about sugar, and get some great ideas for sugar swaps HERE.
To read the Public Health England article on this subject click HERE.