Public Health England (PHE) launched a new campaign Tuesday to help parents take control of sugar-laced snacks gobbled by their children.
Comparing US data from 1989 to 2006, one study of snack consumption among kids aged two to 18 found that consumption of snacks that were sweet (cakes, cookies, pies, bars, ice cream, and gelatin desserts) and salty (crackers, chips, popcorn, and pretzels) increased significantly from 22% to 27% of daily calories over that period.
"We also need to create healthier environments by preventing new fast food restaurants opening within close proximity to schools and colleges - we can not expect children to make healthier food choices when there are temping cheap treats lurking close to school".
It aims to promote healthier snacks and will offer parents special offers on a range of them, including fruit and vegetables at selected supermarkets.
Children's sugar intake is now reaching around seven cubes every day, prompting Public Health England (PHE) to suggest strict new guidelines on snacking.
Each year that includes nearly 400 biscuits, more than 120 cakes, 100 candies, 70 chocolate bars and 70 ice creams, washed down with more than 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.
On average, children are consuming at least 3 unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming 4 or more.
"You see children buying chips coming out of school and buying a bag of chips on their way home from school, and that's part of the reason why we have an obesity epidemic in this country".
Justine Roberts, CEO and founder of Mumsnet, said:"The volume of sugar kids are getting from snacks and sugary drinks alone is pretty mind-blowing, and it can often be hard to distinguish which snacks are healthy and which aren't".
The Public Health England initiative will encourage parents to choose affordable, healthier snacks for their children that contain 100 calories or less, and to limit snack consumption to no more than two a day. An ice-cream contains about 175 calories, a pack of crisps contains about 190 calories, a chocolate bar contains about 200 calories and a pastry contains about 270 calories, says PHE.
Parents will also be offered money-off vouchers for healthier snacks such as "malt loaf, lower-sugar fromage frais, and drinks with no added sugar".
Public Health England is not interfering; it is trying to help battle the rise in child obesity in the United Kingdom and its latest message is a timely piece of advice we can all be part of the fight.
The PHE has previously called on businesses to cut sugar by 20 per cent by 2020, and by five per cent in 2017.
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