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Families urged to check their sugar intake

People in Wolverhampton are being urged to check how much sugar they are consuming.

With the city fighting a war on obesity, public health chiefs say families have a role to play in ensuring they are not putting their health at risk by eating or drinking too many sugary products.

It comes after the publication of a report by Public Health England, Sugar Reduction: The Evidence for Action, which calls for a broad range of measures to cut sugar consumption levels.

The report concluded that a range of factors, including marketing, promotions, advertising and the amount of sugar in manufactured food, is contributing to an increase in sugar consumption.

In response, it calls for fewer price promotions on sugary products, a restriction on marketing and advertising high sugar products to children, and a cut in sugar levels in everyday foods and drinks. It also suggests price increases, through a tax or a levy, as a means of reducing sugar intake.

Councillor Sandra Samuels, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "We support the findings of Public Health England's review, which will go some way to tackling high sugar consumption in our city.

"At the same time, it is very clear that individuals have a key role to play in cutting the amount of sugar they are eating and drinking. It is alarming to think that the average daily sugar intake for children is 3 times higher than the amount recommended by doctors, while adults are consuming twice the recommended amount.

"The problem is that too much sugar means extra calories, which in turn can lead to stored fat in the body, causing conditions like obesity, heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

"It is also directly linked to tooth decay, so it's vitally important that we all take a little more time when we are out shopping to find out how much sugar is in the food and drink we buy, and try to reduce the amount we consume as a result."

The maximum recommended daily intake of sugar is 19g or 4 to 5 teaspoons for children aged 4 to 6, 24g or 5 to 6 teaspoons for children between 7 and 10, and 30g, or 6 to 7 teaspoons for young people aged 11 and over and adults. As a guide, an average can of fizzy drink usually contains around 7 teaspoons of sugar, a muffin is 5 teaspoons, while low fat yoghurt has 4.

As well as shopping smarter, families are also encouraged to make sugar swaps - switching high sugar snacks and drinks for low sugar alternatives, for example exchanging muffins or cakes for fresh fruit or wholewheat biscuits. For more information about making Sugar Swaps, please visit NHS Change4Life.

Councillor Samuels added: "We have a major problem with obesity in Wolverhampton, with over a quarter of our 5 year olds, and over 40% of Year 7 pupils, either overweight or obese.

"At the same time, over 70% of local adults are either overweight or obese, and it's clear that consuming excessively high levels of sugar is a major factor in this - so I'd urge families to look at what they can do to help tackle the problem."

  • released: Thursday 29 October, 2015