One-in-five four to five-year-olds are currently obese or overweight in the UK, with 28% of five-year-olds suffering from tooth decay. These statistics have now caused the Public Heath England (PHE) to recommend that parents should give their kids water instead of sugary drinks.
The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) recently released a draft report and they recommend the current daily recommendations of sugar be halved from 10% to 5%.
There have also been calls from the PHE to introduce a sugar tax, although thtis has been ruled out by Jeremy Hunt. However, while a sugar tax may not be in the pipeline, something needs to be done about our daily sugar intake and Laura Thomas from Happy Sugar Habits agrees.
While implanting a sugar tax is sure to impact some people, Laura also believes it won’t impact others and suggests banning kids from sugar drinks would be more effective, although admits that in itself is not the answer.
Public Health England says the main sources of sugar for kids are soft drinks and fruit juice; unfortunately, many of the drinks aimed at kids are wrongly thought by parents to be healthy. It’s this type dangerous branding that Laura would like to see being tackled, hoping to see more ethical food labelling in the future.
While the government needs to tackle the on-going obesity problem, Thomas believes people also need to take responsibility for their own eating habits. Unfortunately, as Laura explains, it is very difficult to change their ways, especially if their sugar consumption is linked to emotional eating.
However, she does believes there are certain things that parents can do to help their kids maintain good eating habits, in particular by setting good habits at a young age. Growing up on sugar drinks, Laura understands that water can seem boring in comparison to it, which makes it even more important to maintain good eating habits form an early age.
PHE recommends parents swap sugary drinks for water or milk and Laura suggests mums find “alternative snacks” and “introduce other things” like nuts, seeds, cherry tomatoes and even crudités with dip to curb sugar consumption.
According to the SACN, free sugars - those added to fizzy drinks and fruit juices – contribute to dietary calories and kids are consuming a lot more than they should, resulting in obesity.