Children’s sugar intake comes from unhealthy snacks and drinks

Public Health England has revealed that half of children’s sugar intake comes from consuming unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks.

“The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar,” Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said. “Children are having unhealthy snacks throughout the day and parents have told us they’re concerned.”

On average, children consume at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with a third consuming four or more. Public Health England claims that this high sugar intake is leading to obesity and painful tooth decay amongst children, causing Public Health England to encourage parents to limit children’s snacks to only 100-calorie snacks, with a maximum of two snacks per day as part of its Change4life campaign.

“While we know too much sugar can lead to tooth decay, parents can often find it challenging to manage their children’s snacking habits,” Sandra White, national lead for dental public health, said.

Limiting snacks will “make it easier for parents to reduce their children’s sugar intake, and our dental toolkit will help dental teams to support families make healthier choices,” she continued.

Public Health England’s study shows every year children are consuming around 400 biscuits, over 120 cakes, buns and pastries, about 100 portions of sweets, around 70 chocolate bars and 70 ice creams, with more than 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink.

The Change4life campaign directs parents to healthier snacks such as fruit and vegetables.