Parents are being encouraged to back a new campaign and swap their children’s sugary treats for healthier ones.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) is backing Change4Life’s ‘Sugar Swaps’ campaign which aims to reduce the intake of sugar by highlighting substitutions, or swaps, to food and drink, for key meals throughout the day.
Families are being encouraged to sign up and make one easy change – such as substituting sugary and fizzy drinks for water or a sugar-free alternative.
The national campaign launched following a recent survey among Netmums users who were polled on their views on sugar.
The results showed that many families are concerned about the amount of sugar their children consume.
Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers or type two diabetes later in life.
While guidelines state that no more than 10 per cent of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar, at present, children aged four to ten-years-old are consuming up to 50 per cent more than this.
Christine Field, WSCC’s cabinet member for community wellbeing, said: “Change4Life Sugar Swaps is a fun challenge the whole family can take part in.
“Making a simple swap to your diet can actually have a big impact on your family’s health and wellbeing, both short-term and for the future.
“It’s no secret that we tend to have too much sugar in our diets - reducing this is crucial for the health of our children.
“Why not give Sugar Swaps a go and see what difference it makes for your family?”
Change4Life recommends four simple sugar swaps to choose from, tackling different ‘sugar occasions’ in the day:
The Breakfast Swap: sugary cereal for plain cereal e.g. wholewheat biscuit cereal
The Drink Swap: e.g. from sugary drinks to sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks
The After School Swap: for example from muffins to fruited teacake
The Pudding Swap: for example from ice cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt
Visit West Sussex Wellbeing to get further hints and tips or search Change4Life online to register for a free Sugar Swaps pack, designed to help parents cut down the sugary foods and drinks consumed by their children.