Obesity crisis: One in three children at risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer
CHILDREN between the ages of four to ten are consuming more than double the recommended amount of sugar – which is contributing to the nation’s obesity crisis.
This is according to the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS), published today by Public Health England (PHE).
The survey showed children aged four to ten years drank 100mls of sugary drinks on average between 2012 and 2014, a decrease from 130mls/day in 2008 and 2010.
However, sugar makes up 13 per cent of children’s daily calorie intake, while the official recommendation is to limit it to no more than five per cent.
Public Health England said it was ‘worrying’ that teenagers continue to consume three times the official recommendation for sugar – 15 per cent – and adults over twice as much – 12 per cent.
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: “This data provides compelling evidence that we all need to eat more fruit, veg, fibre and oily fish and cut back on sugar, salt and saturated fat to improve our health.
“While it is encouraging that young children are having fewer sugary drinks, they still have far too much sugar in their diet overall, along with teenagers and adults.
“To help tackle this, PHE is launching a programme to challenge the food industry to remove at least 20 per cent of the sugar in its products by 2020.
“It’s an ambitious programme, a world first, and will be a significant step on the road to reducing child obesity levels.”
More than one in three children leaving primary school and almost two in three adults are overweight or obese which means they are more prone to developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. This is why the government’s recent Childhood Obesity Plan announced that PHE is to lead a programme to challenge food and drink manufacturers and retailers to reduce the amount of sugar in their products.
This programme will apply to the foods that contribute the most to children’s sugar intakes, including those aimed at babies and infants.
The data reiterates PHE’s call for the population to follow a healthy, balanced diet, based on the new Eatwell Guide, which includes eating a minimum of five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables per day and increasing consumption of oily fish and fibre.
The organisation said following a healthy, balanced diet and reducing calories will help reduce obesity and the economic and social burden of life-threatening diseases.
The survey also confirms that the UK population continues to consume too much saturated fat and not enough fruit, vegetables and fibre.
Average saturated fat intake for adults aged 19 to 64 is 12.7 per cent of daily calorie intake, above the 11 per cent recommendation.
The same age group consume on average four portions of fruit and vegetables per day, older adults, aged 65 and over, consume 4.2 portions and children aged 11 to 18 consume 2.8 portions per day.
Only 27 per cent of adults, 35 per cent of older adults and 8 per cent of 11 to 18-year-olds meet the government’s five-a-day recommendation for fruit and vegetables.
This comes after experts warned an obesity ‘epidemic’ is fuelling global malnutrition. The report, published in June called From Promise, to Impact, ending malnutrition by 2030, found out of 667 million children under the age of five world wise, 41 million are overweight.
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