Results of a new survey from Public Health England have recently shown that children consume at least double the amount of sugar per day than is recommended, despite government efforts in the United Kingdom to help them kick the habit.

In children between the ages of 4 and 10, sugar makes up at least 13% of their daily caloric intake. What’s even more shocking is that children between the ages of 11 and 18 consume triple the amount of recommended sugar, eating approximately 15% of their daily caloric allowance in sugar. [1]

If one wonders why children in the UK are consuming so much sugar, they should look no further than the adult role models. The survey revealed that 12% of the diet of adults in the UK consists of sugar (which seems like a low estimate to me)

What’s more is that most people in the United Kingdom don’t eat anywhere near the recommended amount of 5 fruits and vegetables per day, meaning that their diet is totally lacking in what the body really needs.

Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, commented on the survey, stating:

“The results of this survey are extremely worrying. The health risks posed by failure to tackle sugar intake are serious. An overweight or obese child is highly likely to be an overweight or obese adult, increasing the risk of developing the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.” [1]

Public Health England has jump-started an initiative to remove at least 20% of sugars in food by 2020, although many remain skeptical of its theorized outcome.

Dr. Helen Webberley, the GP for Oxford Online Pharmacy, has stated that the findings aren’t particularly surprising, especially since sugars appear to be hidden in almost every type of food. [2]

And while the rate of childhood obesity in the UK has plateaued, it is still one of the worst in Europe and certainly still at a worrying level. Currently, 1/3 of all 11-year-olds in the country are overweight or obese.

Webberley suggests that people stick to foods that contain natural sugars instead of opting for the white variety. She also says that adults should lead by example, snacking on healthy food in front of their children to encourage a more balanced and varied diet.

Sources:

[1] Express.co.uk

[2] Huffington Post


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About Anna Scanlon:
Anna Scanlon is an author of YA and historical fiction and a PhD student at the University of Leicester where she is finishing her degree in modern history.