Health News

Change4life is on a mission to reduce sugar intake

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Change4life has launched a campaign to help reduce the amount of sugar intake for children.

When I was younger, I was no stranger to more than my fair share of sweets and sugary treats. I was no stranger to paying for my sweet-toothed cravings, with plenty of horrific trips to the dentists for fillings and canals.

The amount of sugar that the average child is consuming has been increasing year on year, with the latest NHS figures showing that there were 42,911 tooth extractions on children in 2016-17, with most extractions being totally preventable.

The culprit 

These days, children are losing teeth – fast. Tooth removals are the result of the kinds of food and drink that children have daily, and what we choose to buy or make for our kids can reflect not just on their smile but their health and weight as well.

Public Health England (PHE) put the blame on children’s sugar intake, with over half of children’s sugar intake coming from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks.

On average, children are consuming a total of three unhealthy snacks a day, chowing down on over 400 biscuits, 120 cakes and 70 chocolate bars every year. To combat this sugar epidemic, The NHS have launched their first Change4life campaign of 2018, encouraging parents to make the change for their kids by limiting their snacking calorie intake to 2,100 calorie snacks a day.

Choosing responsibly

None of us are totally thrilled about the idea of counting calories, even in our own daily lives, as there is often far too much choice for us to do the math on everything we buy.

Luckily, many food products now come with a ‘traffic light’ system that includes a calorie count on the left-hand side of the label, anything with a green or amber label should be a nice and healthy option but try to steer clear of snacks that have red lights on the label.

Change4life also offer a selection of healthy meal and snack ideas to try at home, with a handy ingredients list and step by step guide to make experimenting new food ideas with your children that much easier. You can find some of their recipe ideas here.