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Public Health England launches new “Sugar Smart” app for children and parents

Public Health England, as part of a new Change4Life campaign, are encouraging parents to get “Sugar Smart” and take control of their children’s sugar intake, in an attempt to prevent childhood obesity and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Public Health England (PHE), as part of a new Change4Life campaign, are encouraging parents to get “Sugar Smart” and take control of their children’s sugar intake, in an attempt to prevent childhood obesity and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. To aid in this, they have launched the new Sugar Smart app, which allows users to scan the barcode of food items and see the amount of total sugars they contain, represented in simple terms of sugar cubes.

The campaign follows revelations that 4–10-year-olds consume over 5500 sugar cubes a year, or around 22 kg – the average weight of a 5-year-old. In contrast, new guidelines published in October 2015 recommend that the maximum daily sugar intake should be as follows:

  • 19g (5 cubes) for children aged 4–6 years.
  • 24 g (6 cubes) for children aged 7–10 years.
  • 30 g (7 cubes) for children aged ≥11 years.

The Sugar Smart app allows people to scan the barcode of over 75 000 everyday food or drink products, with more being added regularly, and see how many 4-g sugar cubes they contain (total sugar). They can also share a “sugar reveal” with their friends and family, and find hints and tips to cut down on sugar on the Change4Life website.

Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist for PHE, said: “Children are having too much sugar, three times the maximum recommended amount. This can lead to painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, which can also affect children’s well-being as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school.

Children aged 5 shouldn’t have more than 19 g of sugar per day. That’s 5 cubes, but it’s very easy to have more. That’s why we want parents to be ‘Sugar Smart’. Our easy-to-use app will help parents see exactly where the sugar in their children’s diet is coming from, so they can make informed choices about what to cut down on.”

The Sugar Smart app is available for free from the iTunes app store and Google Play.

More information can be found at the Change4Life site and at www.gov.uk.

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