Campaign to cut out sugary snacks launched as figures reveal child obesity levels

PUBLISHED: 16:00 07 January 2018

Almost 30 per cent of 10-11 year olds in North Somerset are overweight.

Almost 30 per cent of 10-11 year olds in North Somerset are overweight.

Archant

A campaign to crack down on the amount of sugary snacks children eat has been launched, after new figures revealed almost 30 per cent of 10 to 11-year-olds in North Somerset are overweight.

Statistics released by Public Health England (PHE) show more than 24 per cent of children in the district are either overweight or obese when starting school, while this rises to almost 28 per cent among year six pupils.

In an effort to improve children’s health and lifestyles at an early age, PHE has launched its first Change4Life campaign promoting healthy snacks.

Around half of children’s daily sugar intake comes from unhealthy snacks and drinks, and PHE is urging parents to limit this to just two 100-calorie snacks per day.

North Somerset Council public health consultant Lodee Dudley said: “We encourage all adults and children in North Somerset to eat healthily and lead an active lifestyle.

“Reducing sugary snacks can make a real difference to children’s sugar consumption, which research shows is currently three times the recommended daily amount.

“Schools and children’s centres across North Somerset are promoting the national Change4Life campaign to reduce sugary snacks by encouraging all parents to sign up for a free Change4Life pack which includes money off vouchers at www.change4life.com”

The number of overweight reception-aged children in North Somerset is higher than the South West average of 22 per cent, although the district fares better among year six pupils with the regional average standing at 30 per cent.

Justine Womack, childhood obesity lead for PHE’s health improvement team, said: “Changing our children’s snacking habits can be a real challenge and we want to make it easier for families to find healthier options.

“By asking parents to look for 100-calorie snacks, two a day max, we’re helping them to give healthier snacks while giving them less frequently.

“I know as a parent how hard it can be but it really is just a case of swapping unhealthy snacks as much as possible.”

PHE is working with food industry groups to cut 20 per cent of 
sugar from children’s products by 2020.

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