02 Jan 2019 New Change4Life campaign launched after data shows 10 year-olds have eaten 18 years worth of sugar
Children are consuming the equivalent of eight excess sugar cubes a day, or 2,800 a year, says Public Health England, which has launched a new healthy eating campaign under its flagship healthy eating campaign, Change4Life.
The campaign comes as national surviellance data shows that one-third of children are overweight or obese at the age of 10 and 4.2% are severely obese in year six at school, which can have multiple negative impacts on children’s health and wellbeing. Excess free sugar intake has been identified as a key contributor to the growing obesity epidemic, particularly in childhood.
This year’s focus is on sugar swaps – urging parents to cut the amount of sugar in their families’ diet by switching to lower-sugar drinks, cereals and yoghurts and alongside campaign resources, roadshows and social marketing, several brands that are lower sugar options will be rewarded with a green Change4Life ‘Good choice’ badge to help consumers make healthier choices whilst out shopping. The campaign forms as part of a wider comprehensive programme to reduce the populations consumption of sugar. So far however, we have seen limited impact on the Sugar Reduction Programme, whereby industry have been challenged to reduce the sugar content of food categories most popular with children. In 2018, a one year progress report highlighted progress in some categories, but this has not been seen equally across the board and are not on track to meet the 5% reduction targets by 2020.
Whilst we believe messaging around healthier choices is important and should play a role in the country’s obesity strategy, we believe there should be more emphasis on the wider determinants of health that play an important part in influencing families lifestyle choices and behaivours.
Caroline Cerny, Alliance Lead at the Obesity Health Alliance (of whom Food Active is a member) said:
“Today’s children are growing up in obesogenic environments, bombarded by adverts and promotions for junk food online, on TV and in our supermarkets,” said Caroline Cerny, the alliance lead.
“Government proposals to restrict junk-food marketing, tackle price- and place-based promotions and ensure calorie labelling in cafes and restaurants will, if fully implemented, make progress towards reversing our current worrying obesity trends. But the food industry must also do their bit, cutting sugar levels from their products in line with government’s reformulation programme. It is only through concerted action at all levels that we can ensure a healthier future for this country’s children.”