Public Health England (PHE) is encouraging patents to sign up to a free app which shows users the sugar content of food and drink.
PHE, an executive agency of the Department of Health, has launched the “sugar smart” phone app as part of the new Change4Life public health campaign.
The campaign is aimed at tackling the rising number of children who are overweight, which can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.
According to PHE, an average child aged four to 10 years consumes 22kg of added sugar per year, which equates to roughly 5,500 sugar cubes – roughly the same weight of an average five-year-old child.
The sugar smart app allows users to scan the barcodes of up to 75,000 products and see how much sugar they contain. This can be received in either grams or the equivalent in sugar cubes.
PHE report that a 200ml juice drink contains over five sugar cubes; a 43g chocolate bar contains six cubes and a can of cola contains nine. The recommended maximum intake of sugar cubes per day for children aged four to six is five cubes; six cubes for children aged seven to 10 and seven cubes and for those aged 11 or over.
Alongside trying to reduce children’s weight through the app, PHE also reports that having too much sugar in diets can lead to painful tooth decay, which is the most common reason that children aged five to nine are admitted to hospital.
Dr. Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said: “Children are having too much sugar, three times the maximum recommended amount. This can lead to painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, which can also affect children’s wellbeing as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school.
“If there’s one thing I’d strongly encourage parents to do, and that’s to swap sugary drinks out of their kids’ diets for either a low-sugar drink or water or low-fat milk, which would be a really excellent choice,” Tedstone added.
Last year, Prime Minister David Cameron rejected the introduction of a “sugar tax”, and the Government is scheduled to publish its strategy on childhood obesity later this month.

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