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Diabetes warning as kids load up on sugar

03 January 2019 08:54

The average child consumes 52g of sugar daily

The average child consumes 52g of sugar daily

The average 10-year-old child will have already eaten more sugar in their life than the maximum amount recommended for 18-year-olds, a new study reveals.

Public Health England (PHE) recommends 10-year-olds consume a daily maximum of between 20 and 24 grams of sugar, equal to around five sugar cubes. But the PHE's National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that children are eating an average of 52.2 grams per day, equivalent to 13 sugar cubes.

The data, gathered from household eating habits in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, was released as PHE offers families tips on how to reduce youngsters' sugar intake.

Make different choices

The Change4Life campaign is encouraging parents to change their shopping habits and make different choices of yogurts, drinks and cereals to help cut children's sugar intake.

PHE said food and beverage manufacturers have also responded to calls for lower sugar content, making it easier for parents to find alternative options.

In May last year, the Government health agency published its report on progress towards a first-year sugar reduction ambition of 5%, showing an average 2% cut across categories for retailers and manufacturers.

Switching to low-sugar options could cut intake by as much as 2,500 sugar cubes per year from a child's diet.

The Change4Life campaign is launching as severe obesity in children aged 10-11 hits an all-time high, PHE said.

A third of youngsters are leaving primary school overweight or obese, and more young people than ever are developing Type-2 diabetes.

Children who are overweight are also more likely to remain so into adulthood and are at higher risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers.

Lower-sugar options

Alison Tedstone, PHE chief nutritionist, said: "Children are consuming too much sugar, 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."

Families are encouraged to look for the Change4Life Good Choice badge on products in shops and can download a free app to identify lower-sugar options.

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