- Lisa Faulkner, mum, actress and celebrity chef, is supporting Public Health England’s new Change4Life Be Food Smart campaign
- Children in England consume almost 3 sugar cubes at breakfast time alone, (1) which equates to half their recommended daily amount(2)
- New Change4Life Be Food Smart app shows families how much sugar, saturated fat and salt and is in their food and drinks
Public Health England’s (PHE) new Change4Life campaign is encouraging parents to ‘Be Food Smart’ and take control of their children’s diets.
This follows findings that children consume half the daily recommended sugar intake before the morning school bell rings.(*1)
Children in England consume more than 11g of sugar at breakfast time alone, almost 3 sugar cubes.(1) The recommended daily maximum is no more than 5 cubes of sugar for 4- to 6-year olds and no more than 6 cubes for 7- to 10-year-olds per day.(3) By the end of the day, children consume more than three times these recommendations.(1)
A new Be Food Smart app has been developed to highlight just how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in everyday food and drink that their children consume.
The free app helps and encourages families to choose healthier options and works by scanning the barcode of products allowing parents to compare brands, and features food detective activities for children and mini missions the whole family can enjoy.
Lisa Faulkner, mum, actress and celebrity chef, said: “As a mum, I know how crucial it is for children to eat a healthy diet, but also how meal time in a busy household can be fraught.
“The Be Food Smart app takes some of the pressure away and makes it easy to choose healthier food and drink options for my children.”
Amanda Ursell, nutritionist, said: “I’m often surprised by how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in everyday food and drinks, even as a nutritionist.
“The Be Food Smart app reveals the amounts of sugar, saturated fat and salt in products in a simple way that helps parents make informed choices about the food and drink they serve to their families.”
The campaign also helps parents identify the health harms of children eating and drinking too much sugar, saturated fat and salt, including becoming overweight or obese and developing tooth decay.(4)
Recent reports show that childhood obesity in England has reached alarming rates. More than 1 in 5 children start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they leave.(5)
Tackling obesity is everyone’s responsibility, not just parents. PHE is currently working with retailers, food manufacturers and other organisations in the food industry to reduce the amount of sugar by 20% contained in products children consume.
*Between 6 am and 10 am
Sources of sugar at breakfast
Some of the main sources of sugar at breakfast time include sugary cereals, drinks, and spreads. Away from the breakfast table, children are also consuming too much sugar, saturated fat and salt in items such as confectionery, biscuits, muffins, pastries and soft drinks, which all contribute to an unhealthy diet.(1)
Lisa Faulkner’s top tips to ‘Be Food Smart’
- We all know how important it is to have a good breakfast and help kids start the day in the best way. But many of us are either missing out or choosing breakfast options that are high in sugar, saturated fat or salt. The Be Food Smart app helps you and your family choose healthier breakfast options by revealing the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt in your food and drinks.
- It can be difficult to convince your kids to choose healthier breakfast options, but there are great ingredients you can use to create a healthy breakfast that they’ll love. Why not try fruit (fresh, tinned or frozen), eggs or low fat, lower-sugar yoghurt? There are lots of recipes on the Change4Life website to help you get inspired.
- The amount of salt we eat can quickly add up. Salt is often hidden in many everyday foods that might not even taste salty, so it can be tricky to keep track of how much you and your family are having each day. Simply using black pepper and herbs as seasoning instead of salt can help you eat less salt.
- Too much fat is bad for us – we all know that. But it can be difficult to know which fats we need in our diets and which we don’t. Having unsaturated fat in the diet can help to lower blood cholesterol, but saturated fat (in things like butter, cheese, cakes and biscuits) can lead to high blood cholesterol and serious problems, such as heart attack or stroke. Using tomato sauces on your pasta rather than creamy or cheesy ones is an easy swap to help you cut back on saturated fats.
- Getting your kids involved in producing, buying and preparation of food is a great way to help them to be more aware of what they’re eating and encourage them to make healthier choices early on in life. Why not use the Be Food Smart app with them in the supermarket to choose which products to buy and then ask them to help you make dinner so they can see those products being used to make a meal.
- The Change4Life Be Food Smart campaign will launch with television, digital and outdoor advertising, and updated web content from today across England. 4.6 million free Be Food Smart packs will be given away to primary age children and their families via schools and local authorities. A nationwide roadshow will take place across England in various locations from 9th January.
The Be Food Smart app allows people to scan the barcode of everyday food and drink products and see how much total sugar, saturated fat and salt they contain. The new Be Food Smart app has something for everyone, such as tips and suggestions for adults, food detective activities for the kids and fun ‘mini-missions’ for the whole family. You can also find hints and tips to cut down on sugar on the Change4Life website.
The nutrient data in the Be Food Smart app is supplied by Brandbank and FoodSwitch and features over 114,000 products.
The following supermarkets and manufacturers have pledged their support to the campaign: Aldi, Asda, Weetabix, Soreen, Rachel’s organic, Robinsons, Mornflake, Ribena.
(1) National Diet and Nutrition Survey. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/national-diet-and-nutrition-survey
(2) SACN 2015 Report. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-carbohydrates-and-health-report [Accessed December 2016]
(3) SACN 2015 Report. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sacn-carbohydrates-and-health-report [Accessed December 2016]
(4) Public Health England. Sugar Reduction – The Evidence for Action. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/470179/Sugar_reduction_The_evidence_for_action.pdf [Accessed December 2016]
(5) National Child Measurement Programme. Available at: http://content.digital.nhs.uk/searchcatalogueq=national+child+measurement+programme&area=&size=10&sort=Relevance [Accessed November 2016]