A free smartphone app has been launched in England to help parents reduce the amount of sugar their children eat.
Called ‘Sugar Smart’ it shows the sugar content of products with a simple scan of the barcode.
Becky Hall is among parents using this new phone app to check how much sugar her two sons are consuming.
But for her the benefits, it seems, don’t outweigh the inconveniences.
“It is hard to read the labels. (The app) makes it a lot easier to understand how much sugar is in them. I don’t think I’d use that in a supermarket and scan every item, that would be far too much to deal with.”
Public Health England says figures showing children were eating unhealthy amounts of sugar provoked the creation of the app and a campaign video called ‘Change 4 Life.’
The figures show English four to ten-year-olds eat around 22 kilograms per year. That’s the equivalent of an average five-year-old eating their own body weight in sugar!
Alison Tedstone, Director of Diet and Obesity at Public Health England said:
“Children in Britain are eating far too much sugar — three times more than the recommended amount — and that’s causing them real harm. Almost half of eight year olds have tooth decay, a third of 11 year olds are obese, or overweight”.
Excess weight drastically increases a person’s risk of developing a number of noncommunicable diseases.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity accounts for 10-13 percent of deaths across Europe.
Campaigners, such as Tam Fry, say a firmer stance is needed. He is a spokesman for the National Obesity Forum.
“I think shock tactics is the way now that we have to go. We’ve spent 25 years being namby pamby and very gentle with our information, that hasn’t worked,” he said.
“We’ve got to choose something now which really pulls people up short and says if you do that this will be the consequence.”
Recent WHO guidelines recommend adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than ten percent of their total energy intake.
Further reducing intake to below five percent (six teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.