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10 January 2019

Families in Cumbria asked to make a swap to help children cut down on sugar

Cumbria County Council is supporting Public Health England’s latest Change4Life campaign in asking parents to “make a swap when you next shop” to help reduce their children’s sugar intake from some everyday food and drinks.

Startling new figures show that children have already exceeded the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18 year old by the time they reach their tenth birthday. Figures also show that children are still consuming around 8 excess sugar cubes each day, equivalent to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.

The campaign will help by showing families how easy it is to cut back on sugar by making a few simple swaps to their everyday food and drinks.

Example swaps include:

  • a higher-sugar yoghurt (e.g. split-pot) for a lower sugar one, to halve their sugar intake from 6 cubes of sugar to 3;
  • a sugary juice drink for a no-added sugar juice drink, to cut back from 2 cubes to half a cube;
  • a higher-sugar breakfast cereal (e.g. a frosted or chocolate cereal) for a lower sugar cereal, to cut back from 3 cubes to half a cube per bowl.

Colin Cox, Cumbria County Council’s Director of Public Health, said:

“In some areas of Cumbria we’re seeing more overweight and obese children at reception and onto year 6, this then goes on into adulthood and 2 in 3 adults in Cumbria are now classed as being overweight.

“Excess sugar is a key cause of unhealthy weight gain and can also lead to other issues like painful tooth decay and diabetes. It’s important families control their sugar consumption.

“We understand that reducing the amount of sugar children consume can often be a challenge for parents but by asking them to ‘make a swap when you next shop’, we’re making it easier for families to find healthier versions of the foods they enjoy.”

As an added incentive to get involved with Change4Life, the county council has launched the #HealthySwapsCumbria competition with local leisure providers in the hope of encouraging people across the county to share their swaps and healthy meal ideas on social media. Parents are encouraged to tag @CumbriaCC on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the hashtag #HealthySwapsCumbria to be in with a chance of winning some great prizes, including family swimming and activity passes.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services, said:

“We see it in the news constantly about how children are consuming too much sugar, but campaigns like Change4Life can help parents take action now to prevent this building up over the years.

“To make this easier for busy families, Change4Life offers fun and straightforward solutions like their free apps and tips to help make simple swaps each day.”

Making healthy food swaps every day could remove around 2,500 sugar cubes (10 kilos) per year from a child’s diet, and swapping chocolate, puddings, sweets, cakes and pastries for healthier options such as fruit, sugar-free jellies, lower-sugar custards and rice puddings would reduce their intake even more. 

More information is available on www.cumbria.gov.uk and by searching Change4Life online to find recipes, tips and sugar swap ideas.

Campaign landing page > www.cumbria.gov.uk/healthandwellbeing/change4life.asp

Change4Life > www.nhs.uk/change4life

Video > https://youtu.be/e2UXgdKp4E4

Cumbria County Council is supporting Public Health Englands latest Change4Life campaign in asking parents to make a swap when you next shop to help reduce their childrens sugar intake from some everyday food and drinks.