This is because half of children’s sugar intake, currently around seven sugar cubes a day, comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, leading to obesity and dental decay.
Recent data shows childhood obesity has reached alarming rates, with 21.4% of 4 to 5-year-olds overweight or obese in the South East; increasing to 30.6% in 10 to 11-year-olds.
The percentage of overweight or obese children in Reception on the Isle of Wight is 22%, whilst in Year Six it is 35.6%.
On average, children are consuming at least 3 unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming 4 or more. The overall result is that children consume 3 times more sugar than is recommended.
The new Change4Life campaign encourages parents to “Look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max” to help them purchase healthier snacks than the ones they are currently.
Angela Baker, deputy director for Health & Wellbeing at Public Health England, South East said:
“Changing our children’s snacking habits can be a real challenge and we want to make it easier for families to find healthier options.
“By asking parents to Look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max, we’re helping them to give heathier snacks, while giving them less frequently.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said:
“The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar. Children are having unhealthy snacks throughout the day and parents have told us they’re concerned.
“To make it easier for busy families, we’ve developed a simple rule of thumb to help them move towards healthier snacking – Look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max.”