PRESS RELEASE from Public Health England

Change4Life Sugar Swaps roadshow to visit Bristol this weekend 

Event aims to highlight simple sugar swaps parents can make to their family’s diet

The Change4Life roadshow is set to visit Cabot Circus this weekend on Sunday 1 February to raise awareness of the high levels of sugar families consume every day, and to offer parents practical advice on how to cut down on sugar consumption by making one or more simple swaps.

While guidelines state that no more than 10% of a person’s daily energy or calorie intake should be made up of sugar[i], at present, children aged 4-10 years are consuming up to 50% more than this[ii].

Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up inside the body. This can lead to heart disease, some cancers or type 2 diabetes later in life.

Recently published data highlights that approximately one in five children aged 4-5 years old and one in three children aged 10-11 years old is overweight or obese[iii].

Sugar can also have a devastating impact upon dental health, an integral part of overall health. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions for children aged five to nine in 2012-13. 28% of 5 year olds in England have tooth decay and of these, 24% have five or more teeth affected[iv].

Furthermore, a new survey amongst Netmums users found that nearly half (47%) of mums surveyed think their family has too much sugar in their diets[v] and two thirds of mums (67%) are worried about the amount of sugar their children consume.5

Mark Patterson, Health and Wellbeing Programme Leader for the Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire Public Health England Centre said:

“Reducing sugar intake is important for the health of our children both now and in the future. We are all eating too much sugar and the impact this has on our health is evident.

“This campaign is about taking small steps to address this. We know from past campaigns that making simple swaps works and makes a real difference. This year we wanted to be even more single minded in our approach, which is why we are focusing on sugar alone.

“The family challenge highlights that simple swaps could lead to big changes if sustained over time and we’d urge parents in Bristol to come along to the Sugar Swaps roadshow this weekend, learn more about Sugar Swaps and sign up for their free pack full of swap suggestions.”

The Change4Life Sugar Swaps roadshow will consist of a number of interactive, fun and informative activities to teach families about the swaps; including:

  • Kitchen zone: A fun zone for all the family which reveals the surprising amount of sugar in food and drinks that kids have at different times of the day, such as at breakfast and after school.
  • The Funny Face photo board: A place where visitors can be photographed in funny poses and encouraged to put their photos across social media.
  • Sign Up Zone: An area where families can register for their FREE Sugar Swaps packs. The packs are filled with hints, tips and recipe suggestions, plus money-off vouchers, swap cards and stickers.

Change4Life recommends four simple Sugar Swaps to choose from, tackling different ‘sugar occasions’ in the day:

  • The Breakfast Swap: sugary cereal for plain cereal e.g. wholewheat biscuit cereal
  • The Drink Swap: e.g. from sugary drinks to sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks
  • The After School Swap: for example from muffins to fruited teacake
  • The Pudding Swap: for example from ice cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt.

References

[i]Department of Health (1991). Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom Report of the Panel on Dietary Reference Values of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. London. HMSO.

[ii] Department of Health (1991). Dietary Reference Values for Food Energy and Nutrients for the United Kingdom Report of the Panel on Dietary Reference Values of the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy. Report on Health and Social Subjects 41. London. HMSO.

[iii] National Child Measurement Programme 2014 http://www.hscic.gov.uk/catalogue/PUB16070/nati-chil-meas-prog-eng-2013-2014-rep.pdf

[iv] National Dental Epidemiology Programme for England: oral health survey of five year old children 2012.

[v] Online survey conducted with 687 parents of children aged 5-11 & 1720 parents of children of all ages, October 2104 netmums.com