Parents across Essex are being encouraged to ‘take action’ on their children’s diet with an app designed to help tackle the increase in obesity, in the young across the county.
More than 20.9 per cent of four to five year-olds in Essex are overweight or obese, increasing to 31.8 per cent in 10- to 11-year-olds.
Public Health England (PHE) launched the ‘Be Food Smart’ campaign in a bid to reduce the sugar in children’s diets after reports showed an alarming rise in obesity across the country.
Findings revealed that children consume half the daily recommended sugar intake before the morning school bell rings.
Children in England consume more than 11g of sugar at breakfast time alone, almost 3 sugar cubes.
The recommended daily maximum is no more than 5 cubes of sugar for 4- to 6-year-olds and no more than 6 cubes for 7- to 10-year-olds per day.
By the end of the day, children consume more than three times these recommendations.
Some of the main sources of sugar at breakfast time include sugary cereals, drinks, and spreads.
The new campaign aims to help parents identify the health harms of children eating and drinking too much sugar, as well as saturated fat and salt, including becoming overweight or obese and developing tooth decay.
It encourages parents to ‘Be Food Smart’ and take more control of their children’s diets.
A “Be Food Smart” app has been developed to highlight just how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in everyday food and drink that their children consume.
Councillor Graham Butland, Cabinet Member for Health at Essex County Council said: “The Be Food Smart App is a useful tool for parents to help balance their children’s diets for a healthier life, whilst allowing them choice and flexibility”
“Often foods that we may think are good for us actually contain large amounts of sugar, salt or fat.
“The app is a handy and quick way of checking something before you or your family sit down to eat so you know exactly what’s on your plate. If you haven’t done so already, download the free app today.”
The Food Smart app is available for free to download now from the Apple App store or Google Play.