Children in England consuming double their recommended sugar intake, new figures from Public Health England (PHE) show.
Children aged four-10 years old are consuming 13 cubes of sugar on average every day, more than double the five-to-six recommended daily allowance.
PHE says this means children have already consumed a year’s worth of sugar in under six months.
‘We’re barely halfway through the year and already children have consumed far more sugar than is healthy,’ Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said.
‘It’s no surprise this is contributing to an obesity crisis.’
Sugary soft drinks
Sugary soft drinks are the main source of free sugars in children’s diets, the figures show.
The top 10 contributors to sugars in children’s diets include:
- Sugary soft drinks (including squashes, juice drinks, energy drinks, cola and other fizzy drinks) – 10%
- Buns, cakes, pastries and fruit pies – 10%
- Sugars, including table sugar, preserves and sweet spreads – 9%
- Biscuits – 9%
- Breakfast cereals – 8%
- Chocolate confectionery – 7%
- Sugar confectionery – 7%
- Yoghurt, fromage frais and other dairy desserts – 6%
- Ice cream – 5%
- Puddings – 4%.
A quarter of five-year-olds suffer with tooth decay partly down to the high sugar content in their diet.
‘Snacks and drinks are adding unnecessary sugar to children’s diets without us even noticing,’ Dr Alison Tedstone continued.
‘Swapping to lower or no added sugar alternatives is something all parents can work towards.’
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PHE is encouraging parents to use the Change4life website for helpful tips to reduce sugar in our diets.
Combined with this it has challenged the food industry to cut sugar in its products by 20% by 2020, with a 5% reduction seen in the first year.
‘We lead the world in having the most stringent sugar reformulation targets and it is encouraging to see that some progress has been made in the first year,’ Steve Brine, Public Health Minister, said.
‘However, we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge we face.
‘We are monitoring progress closely and have not ruled out taking further action.’