Parents are being encouraged to cut back on the amount of sugar they feed their children in a new health campaign launched by Public Health England’s Change4Life initiative.
The campaign encourages parents to provide healthy alternatives to sugar packed foods and has put together a pack containing a free Sugar Swaps Guide to eating less sugar, shopping pad, swap cards and stickers, money off vouchers to make buying Sugar Swaps cheaper and handy weekly emails and texts containing tips, advice and fun ideas to help children swap.
Current health guidelines advise that 10% of a person’s energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar, but officials fear many children aged between four and 10 are consuming far more.
Professor Kevin Fenton, national director of health and wellbeing at PHE, said: “Reducing sugar intake is important for the health of our children both now and in the future. We are all eating too much sugar and the impact this has on our health is evident.
“This campaign is about taking small steps to address this. We know from past campaigns that making simple swaps works and makes a real difference.”
Ahead of the campaign launch, PHE worked with Netmums and the University of Reading to advise 50 families on sugar swaps.
It found on average their sugar intake was reduced by 40% over a month.
Guidelines recommend sugars added to food should not amount to more than 10% of an adult’s daily calorie intake, but government scientists say the target should be reduced to 5%.
This lower target would mean a sugar limit of 25g for women (five to six teaspoons) and 35g (seven to eight teaspoons) for men, based on the average diet.
A typical can of fizzy drink contains about nine teaspoons of sugar.