Half of children’s sugar intake comes from consuming unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, Public Health England says.
It goes on to claim that this high sugar intake is leading to obesity and painful tooth decay amongst children, causing Public Health England to start encouraging parents to limit children’s snacks to only 100-calorie snacks, two a day max, all as part of its Change4life campaign.
‘While we know too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, parents can often find it challenging to manage their children’s snacking habits,’ Sandra White, national lead for dental public health, said.
‘This tip from Change4life will make it easier for parents to reduce their children’s sugar intake, and our dental toolkit will help dental teams to support families make healthier choices.’
‘Look for 100-calorie snacks, two a day max’
On average, children consume at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with a third consuming four or more.
Public Health England’s study shows every year children are consuming around 400 biscuits, over 120 cakes, buns and pastries, about 100 portions of sweets, around 70 chocolate bars and 70 ice creams, with more than 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.
The Change4life campaign is now pointing parents in the direction of healthier snacks including fruit and vegetables at selected supermarkets, as well as money-off vouchers for electric toothbrushes for children.
‘The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar,’ Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said.
‘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.’