‘Health timebomb’ warning for Sheffield youngsters

Children in Sheffield are eating shockingly high amounts of sugar, leading to warnings they are putting their health at risk.

Research shows youngsters across the city are eating more than their recommended daily sugar intake in sweet treats alone.

Sweet treats

Sweet treats

A study to mark Sugar Awareness Week shows that they are eating the equivalent of two one kilogram bags of sugar a year just by going to friends’ birthday parties.

Over the Christmas period, children in Sheffield eat a huge 1,608g of sugar, with an average 482g over Easter, and 280g at Halloween.

.The government recommends that children aged 16 should eat an average of no more than 30g per day (27g for girls and 33g for boys), with 24g for seven to10-year-olds and 10g for four to six year-olds.

But parents of under-16s in Sheffield say their children are eating 41g of sugar on a typical school day by scoffing extra treats, according to a survey for natural sweetener NatVia by Atomik Research.

Paul Evans, vice chairman of the British Obesity Society and operations director for School Health UK, said: “This worrying survey shows British children are treating their way to a health timebomb.

“Eating too much sugar is linked to obesity, heart problems, tooth decay and diabetes – and it will cost the NHS millions to treat these diseases in the future.”

Parents in Sheffield claim their kids eat on average three biscuits, two chocolate bars, two cans of fizzy drink and three cups of fruit juice during a typical school week day.

Their children attend an average of nine birthday parties a year where they consume an average of 268g of sugar at each one by munching on cake and sweets, among other sugary treats.

This sees children in Sheffield eat an average 2,412g of sugar at parties alone over one year.

Most parents of under-16s say they put sweets into their children’s party bags, with the most popular being bags of sweets (54%), lollipops (52%) and chocolate bars (52%).

Summer sees children consuming an extra 325g of sugar a week on average as they eat three ice creams or lollies,on top of fizzy drinks and fruit juice.

And just under a quarter of parents say their child eats five or more ice creams or lollies during a week over the summer holidays.

Half of parents surveyed in Sheffield say sweet treats are part of the fun of the occasion, and a quarter let their children decide how many sweets they eat.

A third of parents say they are not concerned at all about their kids’ sugar consumption.

Biggest worries for parents about their children’s sugar consumption was tooth decay (48%), dental cavities (39%) and obesity (24%).

Sam Tew, Director of NatVia, said: “It is so important that children can enjoy themselves on special occasions.

“But do they need a treat every day? How necessary is that bar of chocolate at the end of the school day? 

“Do they really need that lollipop as a reward or a can of fizzy drink if they are thirsty?

By just pausing for a moment and asking ourselves these questions – and then replacing the sugary treat with a healthier snack, we could be creating a better future for the younger generation.”