Fat Isle kids fear leads to council backing campaign

Obese child.
Obese child.

North Lincolnshire Council is backing the Change4Life campaign to encourage Isle families to swap sugary food and drinks for healthy alternatives in bid to improve their health and lifestyle.

Frances Cunning, Director of Public Health in North Lincolnshire is encouraging people to sign up to the Change4Life ‘Sugar Swap’ campaign.

She said: “It’s surprising how much sugar there is in some of the things we give our children throughout the day: from the cereal they have for breakfast and the snacks they have after school to the drinks they have during the day and puddings. Many people have no idea how much sugar they and their family really consume because it is in so many things. We could all do with cutting a little sugar out of our diets and helping our kids to do the same.”

Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers and type two diabetes later in life.

Sugar can also have an impact on dental health. Dental extractions under general anaesthesia remain the most common reason for scheduled hospital admissions amongst school aged children across the country. In North Lincolnshire, they account for an average of 259 hospital admissions a year for children in North Lincolnshire, of which more than half are under nine years of age.

When children are not healthy it affects their ability to learn, thrive and develop.

In North Lincolnshire 24 per cent of children start school either overweight or obese. This then grows to 35 per cent for those in their last year of primary school.

Children who are overweight or obese when they are young are far more likely to become overweight or obese as adults. These figures demonstrate the increasing need to address children’s diets and limit future health problems.

Guidelines state that no more than 10 per cent of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar. At present children between four and 10 years-old are consuming up to 50 per cent more than this.

The Change4Life campaign recommends four simple ‘Sugar Swaps’, tackling different occasions in the day:

The Breakfast Swap – sugary cereal for plain cereal, for example whole wheat biscuit cereal

The Drink Swap – sugary drinks to sugar-free or no added sugar drinks

The After School Swap – from muffins to fruited teacake

The Pudding Swap – from ice-cream to low-fat, lower sugar yoghurt

Change4Life Sugar Swaps launched on 5 January 2015. Throughout the campaign, families will be able to register for their free Sugar Swaps pack on the Change4Life website: https;//sugarswaps.change4life.co.uk/) that they will receive in the post. The packs are filled with hints, tips and recipe suggestions designed to help parents cut down the sugary foods and drinks consumed by their children. Plus money off vouchers, swap idea cards and stickers.

Councillor Rob Waltham, cabinet member for people said: “It is extremely important that we look after our children and young people in North Lincolnshire. Making sure they have the right diet and exercise regularly will ensure they are healthy.

“Many families often don’t realise how much sugar is actually in food and drinks. Therefore we want to raise awareness through supporting the Sugar Swaps campaign as to how much sugar people are actually consuming. By making a few simple swaps, it can make a huge difference to people’s health.

“Sign up now for your free Sugar Swaps pack and start making healthy changes that will improve your family’s health.”