A new effort by Public Health England aims to educate parents about their kids’ sugar intake, pointing them to healthier snacks and hoping to stem the UK’s growing childhood obesity rate.
Announced on Tuesday, the new campaign, called Change4Life, encourages parents to limit kids’ snacks to 100 calories each, with a maximum of 2 snacks per day. Right now, say nutritionists, the average child in the UK consumes 3 snacks and/or sweetened drinks each day. Around 30% of kids actually top even that, having 4 or more snacks a day.
All that snacking means that England’s children snack on the sugar-equivalent of 7 cubes of cubes each day. In fact, the average UK kid scarfs down 400 cookies, 120 servings of pastries, 70 candy bars and more than 150 cans of sweetened beverages every year.
The 100-calorie cap does not apply to fruits or vegetables, which kids should still consume at a rate of 5 servings per day.
Here in the US, we’re accustomed to the rest of the world making fun of our seemingly ever-expanding waistlines but at least a third of kids in the UK will finish primary school overweight or obese.
To help parents steer their kids toward healthier snack choices Public Health England has built its Food Scanner app, available for iPhone and Android devices.
Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash