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New campaign helps families make healthy food choices

by Laura Johnston

Families in Knowsley are being encouraged to improve their children’s diet with the help of a new campaign.

‘Be Food Smart’ helps families to choose healthier foods and drinks by highlighting important information on food labels.

A new ‘Be Food Smart’ app has been developed to show just how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in everyday food and drink that children consume.

The free app works by scanning the barcode of products to reveal the total sugar, saturated fat and salt content and allowing families to compare brands.

The app also features fun food detective activities for children and ‘mini missions’ the whole family can enjoy.

Cllr Steff O’Keeffe, Knowsley Cabinet Member for Public Health, Wellbeing and Customer Services, said:

“Our children might seem fine on the outside but too much sugar and saturated fat can lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside. This build-up can lead to weight gain and serious diseases in the future.

The Be Food Smart campaign is a really simple way for families to take more control of their diet by making healthier food and drink choices. I’d urge everyone to download the app and use it when doing the weekly food shop, you’ll probably be quite shocked by the levels of sugar, saturated fat and salt that can be found in the products you often buy. The app can help you choose a healthier alternative for your family to enjoy.”

Children consume half their daily sugar intake at breakfast

The campaign launch follows findings from Public Health England (PHE) that children consume half the daily recommended sugar intake before the school day begins.

Children in England consume more than 11g of sugar at breakfast time alone, almost 3 sugar cubes. The recommended daily maximum is no more than 5 cubes of sugar for 4 to 6 year-olds and no more than 6 cubes for 7 to 10 year-olds. By the end of the day children consume more than three times these recommendations.

Some of the main sources of sugar at breakfast time include sugary cereals, drinks, and spreads. Away from the breakfast table, children are also consuming too much sugar, saturated fat and salt in items such as confectionery, biscuits, muffins, pastries and soft drinks, which all contribute to an unhealthy diet.

What about the food industry?

Tackling obesity is everyone’s responsibility, not just parents. PHE is currently working with retailers, food manufacturers and other organisations in the food industry to reduce the amount of sugar by 20% contained in products children consume. Eight in ten parents (81%) surveyed by PHE support this action and believe food manufacturers have a responsibility to reduce sugar in their products.

Want to find out more?

The Be Food Smart app is available free from the iTunes store or Google Play and you can find out more about the campaign by clicking here or searching Change4Life.