Children consume more than a year’s worth of sugar in six months

Children in England have already consumed more than a year’s worth of sugar, according to figures from Public Health England (PHE).

Children aged 4 to 10 years are consuming on average 13 cubes a day, when the maximum should be the equivalent of five to six cubes.

This means they are on track to consume around 4,800 cubes of sugar by the end of the year, more than double the maximum recommendation.

Sugary soft drinks remain one of the main contributors of free sugars to children’s diets, more than ice cream and puddings combined.

The other main sources of sugar in children’s diets are sugary soft drinks (including squashes, juice drinks, energy drinks, cola and other fizzy drinks), which makes up ten per cent of sugar in children’s diets, followed by buns, cakes, pastries and fruit pies (10%), and sugars, including table sugar, preserves and sweet spreads (9%). Other foods that contribute to children’s sugar intake are biscuits (9%); breakfast cereals (8%), Chocolate confectionery (7%); sugar confectionery (7%); yoghurt, fromage frais and other dairy desserts (6%); ice cream (5%), and puddings (4%).

Fruit juice with no added sugar can be a healthier alternative to soft drinks. However, it contributes a significant amount of sugar to children’s diets when consumed in large amounts. Therefore fruit juice and smoothies should be limited to a combined total of 150ml per day.

PHE’s Change4Life campaign is urging parents to make simple changes, such as swapping sugary drinks for plain water, lower fat plain milks, sugar-free or no added sugar drinks.

The Change4Life website has easy drink swaps and helpful tips for families:

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