School children taught to count using sugar cubes to help curb obesity rates
Worksheets, created by Public Health England (PHE), will ask pupils to calculate how much sugar is in different foods.
Children will then be asked whether this is more or less than the recommended daily amount of sugar.
‘Children are consuming too much sugar and obesity is a real threat to their health,’ Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said.
‘Educating them on the importance of a healthy balanced diet in their early years can help them avoid serious illness in future.’
This is the first time PHE has used English and maths to reinforce the message about sugar content in food.
While some teachers welcomed the voluntary worksheets, other critics have accused PHE of fear-mongering.
Other worksheet activities include counting and stacking sugar cubes and investigating sugar intake before making suggestions to improve diets.
‘Public Health England’s unhealthy obsession with the weight of other people’s children is both unwanted and unwarranted,’ The Adam Smith Institute, a think tank that promotes free markets, told The Times.
‘Since 1992 sugar consumption has fallen by about 28%.
‘The quango’s fear-mongering over children eating too much sugar comes from them halving their own guidelines on a whim.’
Figures show children are consuming around eight more sugar cubes every day than recommended.
This is despite children’s sugar intake levels declining slightly in recent years.
‘Children are consuming too much sugar,’ Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said.
‘But parents can take action now to prevent this building up over the years.
‘To make this easier for busy families, Change4life is offering a straightforward solution.
‘By making simple swaps each day, children can have healthier versions of everyday foods and drinks, while significantly reducing their sugar intake.’