MPs, including deputy Labour leader, Tom Watson, have pointed to fizzy drinks as the main culprit.
Some of the cans on the market contain 36g of sugar, more than the recommended daily allowance for a child.
‘The obesity and type 2 diabetes crisis sweeping the nation must be tackled head on,’ Mr Watson told the Evening Standard.
‘The mounds of sugar in fizzy drinks popular with children is as good as poisoning them.’
‘Fizz Free February’
The rise in diabetes and childhood obesity have given rise to the ‘Fizz Free February’ initiative.
Launched by Southwark Council in London, Fizz Free Feb encourages participants to give up fizzy drinks for the whole month.
The scheme encourages people to:
- Pledge to go fizz-free on Southwark’s website
- Spread the word at schools and places of work
- Use the #gofizzfree on to share how you’re getting on and be inspired by others ditching the fizz.
‘With scores of children suffering from tooth decay, obesity and even diabetes, we must do something to alert people to the danger of too much sugar,’ Mr Watson continues.
Children are exceeding the recommended sugar intake of an 18-year-old by the time they reach 10, Public Health England (PHE) says.
Figures show children are consuming around eight more sugar cubes every day than is 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.’