East Sussex County Council’s public health team is backing a national campaign, Change4Life, to raise awareness of the health risks of eating too much sugar.
The campaign, launched by Public Health England, follows revelations that four to 10-year-olds consume an estimated 5,500 sugar cubes a year, weighing the same as the average five-year-old.
In East Sussex, almost 20 per cent of four to five-year-olds are overweight or obese, rising to almost 30 per cent of 10 to 11-year-olds. Overweight or obese children are more likely to become obese adults who are more prone to serious health problems such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes.
To coincide with the campaign, a Sugar Smart app has been launched, which allows parents to scan the barcode of products to see how much sugar there is in everyday food and drink.
Cynthia Lyons, acting East Sussex director of public health, said: “The latest child obesity figures highlight the importance for families to cut back on sugar in the diet. Children are having too much sugar, three times the maximum recommended amount.
“This can lead to painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, which can affect children’s wellbeing as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school.
“People may not realise how much sugar is lurking in everyday products, so the Sugar Smart app is a great way for families to keep tabs on their sugar intake.
“We’re encouraging parents to go to the Change4Life website to download the new Sugar Smart app and take control of the amount of sugar their family consumes. ”
The campaign reveals a 43g bar of chocolate contains six cubes of sugar, a 200ml juice drink has more than five cubes and a can of cola contains nine sugar cubes, instantly taking children up to or over their recommended maximum for the day.
The recommended daily maximums sugar intakes is five sugar cubes (19g) for four to six-year-olds, six cubes (24g) for seven to 10-year-olds and seven sugar cubes (30g) for children aged 11 and older.
People can download the Change4Life Sugar Smart app to find out how much sugar is in the food and drink their family consumes every day. More information, along with free support, tips, ideas and recipes, is available on the Change4Life website