105FM :: Local Radio for Redcar & Cleveland

Change4Life and Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council are teaming up to encourage families across the borough to sign up for ‘Sugar Swaps’ this January.

The campaign aims to help families cut down on the amount of sugar  their children consume my making simple swaps in the food and drink they choose. 

More than 24% of children in the North East start school either overweight or obese, according to Public Health England figures, rising to 35% for those in their last year at primary school. 

The organisation also found tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions for children aged five to nine in 2012/13. 

When children are not healthy, this affects their ability to learn, thrive and develop, and children who are overweight or obese when they are young are far more likely to become overweight or obese adults, facing future health problems.

Dr Roberta Marshall, director of PHE’s North East Centre, said: “Reducing sugar intake is important for the health of our children both now and in the future. We are all eating too much sugar and the impact this has on our health is evident.”

While guidelines say no more than 10% of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar, at present, children aged four to 10 years are estimated to be consuming up to 50% more than this.

Children aged four to 10 get 17% of their daily sugar from soft drinks, 17% from biscuits, buns, cakes, pastries and fruit pies, 14% from confectionery, 13% from fruit juice, and 8% from breakfast cereals. 

Change4Life Sugar Swaps has now been launched to help Redcar & Cleveland families cut their sugar intake. 

“The family challenge highlights that simple swaps could lead to big changes if sustained over time and we’d urge North East parents to try one more simple swap in January and beyond,” said Dr Marshall. 

“This year we wanted to be even more single-minded in our approach, which is why we are focusing on sugar alone. 

“The family challenge highlights that simple swaps could lead to big changes if sustained over time and we’d urge North East parents to try one more simple swap in January and beyond. 

It comes after a survey amongst Netmums users showed that nearly half (47%) of mums surveyed think their family has too much sugar in their diets and two thirds of mums (67%) are worried about the amount of sugar their children consume.

Examples of Sugar Swaps include switching from sugary breakfast cereal to plain cereal, such as wholewheat breakfast cereal, and swapping sugary drinks for sugar-free or no-added sugar drinks. 

After school, parents should provide low-sugar alternatives such as a fruit teacake rather than muffins and switch from ice-cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt for pudding.

Councillor Sheelagh Clarke, Redcar & Cleveland Borough Councils Cabinet Member for Health & Wellbeing, added:

"The Change4Life's Sugar Swaps campaign makes it easy for children and families to start the new year by making healthy changes to their diet.

“Throughout the campaign, families will be able to register for their free Sugar Swaps packs, which they will receive through the post.

“These will be filled with hints, tips and recipe suggestions, as well as money-off vouchers, designed to help parents cut down the sugary foods and drinks consumed by their children. 

“Everyone  who signs up will also receive a daily email and regular texts with even more advice on how to reduce sugar from their children’s diets.”

To find out more and to receive your FREE Sugar Swap pack, search Change4Life online and sign up today.

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