Parents urged to ‘Be Food Smart’ to improve eating habits

Be Food SmartPARENTS across the county are being urged to take control of their children’s diets with the help of a new app.

With many children in England consuming half their recommended daily amount of sugar at breakfast time alone, public health bosses at East Sussex County Council are encouraging families to choose healthier options.

The Be Food Smart app, part of the Change4Life campaign, gives parents a better idea of how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in the food and drink they give their children.

The free app helps and encourages families to choose healthier options and works by scanning the barcode of products allowing parents to compare brands. The app also features food detective activities for children and mini missions the whole family can enjoy.

“The Be Food Smart app takes some of the pressure off parents and helps make it easier to choose healthier food and drink options for their children.  Be Food Smart aims to help parents identify the health harms of children eating and drinking too much sugar, saturated fat and salt, including becoming overweight or obese and developing tooth decay.” said Cynthia Lyons, acting director of public health.

“In East Sussex more than a fifth (22.6 per cent) of four to five year olds and almost a third (32 per cent) of 10 to 11 year olds are overweight or obese.  It is important that, to tackle this issue, families have access to information about what’s in the food they are putting on their plates.”

On average children in England consume more than 11g of sugar at breakfast time alone, almost three sugar cubes. The recommended daily maximum is no more than five cubes of sugar for four to six-year-olds and no more than six cubes for seven to 10-year-olds per day.

There are nine sugar cubes in a can of cola, on average, instantly taking children up to or over their recommended maximum for the day. By the end of the day children consume, on average, more than three times these recommendations.

In East Sussex partners are working together through the East Sussex Healthy Weight Partnership to co-ordinate activity to help people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

As part of this, a range of support is being put in place including a programme of health improvement grants to schools funded by public health to enable schools to transform the way in which their school supports children and young people to stay healthy.

To find out more about the app and for information and advice on living a healthier lifestyle visit