Be Food Smart App Help Parents Choose Healthy Foods for Kids

Be Food Smart App Help Parents Choose Healthy Foods for Kids

by Julia Samuel on  January 3, 2017 at 1:50 PM Health Watch
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Highlights
  • Health officials warn that kids consume half their recommended sugar allowance in breakfast.
  • Sugary cereals, fruit juice and and preserves are loaded with calories and increases the risk of obesity.
  • The average child is now consuming three times their recommended allowance of sugar by the end of the day.
  • More than one in five children start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they start secondary school.

Sugary cereals, fruit juice and and preserves, a typical breakfast of a child makes up to half the sugar allowance for the day.
Be Food Smart App Help Parents Choose Healthy Foods for Kids

The average child is eating the equivalent of three cubes of sugar every morning for breakfast, Public Health England (PHE) said. This compares with a recommended daily maximum is five cubes of sugar for four to six-year-olds and six cubes for seven to 10-year-olds.

PHE warned that the average child is now consuming three times their recommeded allowance of sugar by the end of the day - with vast amounts of it eaten even before they have left the house.

Cereals, fruit juices, chocolate spreads, jam and honey were among the chief culprits fuelling early morning sugar intake, PHE said. The average breakfast intake mounts to more than 1,000 sugar cubes a year, they said.

Official data shows that more than one in five children start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they start secondary school.

PHE has launched a free new app which helps highlight how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in everyday food and drink that children consume. It works by scanning the barcode of a product to help parents make more informed choices as they shop.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said, "Children have far too much sugar, and a lot of it is before their first lesson of the day. It's crucial for children to have a healthy breakfast, but we know the mornings in a busy household can be fraught. That's why we've developed our Be Food Smart App, taking some of the pressure off parents and helping them to choose healthier food and drink options for their children."

Nutrition experts are concerned that many parents do not realise how unhealthy the average breakfast is. Among parents of children who were consuming half a day's recommended sugar intake before school, 84 percent considered their child's breakfast as healthy.

Health officials said recommended breakfast foods included plain cereals such as porridge, wholewheat biscuits or shredded wholewheat, fruits and berries, low-fat lower sugar yoghurt, and wholegrain toast with low-fat spread.

Children should be given water or semi-skimmed milk instead of fruit juice. If parents wanted to provide fruit juice, it should be limited to 150ml and be consumed with food to protect the teeth, officials said.

Sara Stanner, Science director at the British Nutrition Foundation added, "We know a healthy breakfast can make an important contribution to children's vitamin and mineral intakes and its consumption has been linked to many positive health outcomes."

Source: Medindia

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