‘Children must eat less sugar’, experts warn


Weight - Credit: Archant

HEALTH experts have warned that North Somerset children need to cut back on sugar as a fifth of youngsters aged four and five were found to be overweight or obese.

Of the 2,351 children in reception class during the school year 2014-2015 who took part in the study, 14.1 per cent were overweight and 7.6 per cent were found to be obese.

The figures, from the Office for National Statistics, also show that of the 1,962 children in year six – aged 10 or 11 – who were tested, 15.2 per cent were overweight and 14 per cent were considered to be obese.

This makes them more prone to a range of serious health problems including heart disease, some cancers and type two diabetes.

Although the figures are shocking, the district fares slightly better than the regional average as 22.3 per cent of four to five-year-olds and 30.5 per cent of 10 to 11-year-olds are overweight or obese in the South West.

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Change4Life – a public health programme funded by the Department For Health – is launching a campaign to get youngsters to eat less sugar.

Deputy director of health and wellbeing for Public Health England (PHE) South West Kevin Ellison said: “The latest child obesity figures for the South West highlight the importance for families to cut back on sugar. Sugar is lurking in everyday food and drink, taking children well over the recommended amount.”

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Change4Life revealed that, on average, four to 10-year-olds eat about 22kg of sugar a year, three times the recommended amount.

Chief nutritionist for PHE Alison Tedstone said: “This can lead to painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, which can also affect children’s wellbeing as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school.”

Change4Life has created a short film, warning parents about the danger of too much sugar and launched an app to show how much is contained in everyday food and drink.

To find out more log on to www.nhs.uk/change4life

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