Parents are being urged to rein in their children’s eating habits after it was revealed 19 per cent of Herts’ four and five year olds are obese.
Herts County Council is championing Change4Life’s Sugar Smart campaign after revelations that children aged four to 10 eat the equivalent of an estimated 5,500 sugar cubes a year, which at 22kg weighs the same as an average five-year-old.
Five million Sugar Smart packs will be given away to primary school children and their families via schools, local authorities and shops.
Parents can also download the new Sugar Smart app to find out how much sugar is in the food and drink their family eats every day.
Teresa Heritage, cabinet member for public health, localism and libraries, said: “The latest child obesity figures highlight the importance for families to cut back on sugar in their diet.
“Sugar is lurking in everyday food and drink, taking children well over the maximum recommended amount.
“We’re encouraging parents across Hertfordshire to download the new Sugar Smart app and take control of the amount of sugar their family consumes, to protect them from the health risks of having too much sugar.”
National guidelines say children aged four to six should have no more than 19g of sugar a day, which equates to five cubes.
If children are overweight or obese it means they are more likely to become obese adults who are more prone to a range of serious health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes.
Nationally, there are now 2.5 million people suffering from Type 2 diabetes, 90 per cent of whom are overweight or obese.
Being overweight can also affect a child’s emotional wellbeing and their ability to achieve at school.
The Change4Life campaign highlights the sugar content of everyday food and drink – for example, a 43g chocolate bar contains six cubes of sugar, a 200ml juice drink contains more than five cubes and there are nine cubes in a can of cola, instantly taking children up to or over their recommended maximum for the day.
If a parent is worried about their child’s weight they can speak to their GP, school nurse or contact Beezee Bodies, who offer programmes to help the family make changes. Visit www.beezeebodies.com/