Average 10 year-old has already eaten more sugar than maximum recommended for an adult, study finds

Children consuming average of 52.2 grammes of sugar a day – equivalent to 13 cubes and eight more than recommended level, warns Public Health England 

May Bulman@maybulman
Wednesday 02 January 2019 01:29
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Children have on average already eaten more sugar than the maximum amount recommended for an 18-year-old by the time they reach their 10th birthday, new research suggests.

The recommended maximum amount of sugar for 10-year-olds is 20-24 grammes a day, but according to figures released by Public Health England (PHE), children are consuming an average of 52.2 grammes a day – equivalent to 13 cubes a day and eight more than the recommended level.

The data, gathered from household eating habits in across the UK, was released as PHE offers parents tips on how to get youngsters eating less sugar. It said taking different choices of yogurts, drinks and cereals could cut a child's sugar intake by half.

PHE said food and beverage manufacturers have also responded to calls for lower sugar content, making it easier for parents to find alternative options.

In May last year, the government health agency published its report on progress towards a first-year sugar reduction ambition of 5 per cent, showing an average 2 per cent cut across categories for retailers and manufacturers.

Switching to low-sugar options could cut intake by as much as 2,500 sugar cubes per year from a child's diet, at a time when severe obesity in children aged 10-11 hits an all-time high.

A third of youngsters are leaving primary school overweight or obese, and more young people than ever are developing Type-2 diabetes.

Children who are overweight are also more likely to remain so into adulthood, and are at higher risk of developing heart disease and certain cancers.

Alison Tedstone, PHE chief nutritionist, said: “Children are consuming too much sugar, but parents can take action now to prevent this building up over the years.

“To make this easier for busy families, Change4Life is offering a straightforward solution - by making simple swaps each day, children can have healthier versions of everyday foods and drinks, while significantly reducing their sugar intake.”

Families are encouraged to look for the Change4Life Good Choice badge on products in shops, and can download a free app to identify lower-sugar options.

It comes after separate research revealed that supermarket checkouts and promotional displays were loaded with obesity-fuelling sweets and sugary drinks aimed at enticing young children who are shopping with their parents.

High-sugar or calorie products – set to be included on a government blacklist – account for 70 per cent of food and drink in these high-visibility areas at five leading supermarkets’ stores, according to the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA).

Additional reporting by agencies

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