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Help your family Be Food Smart

Be Food Smart
The app aims to help families choose healthier eating options.
Published: Wednesday, 11th January 2017

Warrington Borough Council is backing a campaign urging parents to take more control of their children’s diets.

The council is promoting Public Health England’s (PHE) new Change4Life campaign – ‘Be Food Smart’.

According to PHE, children are consuming half the daily recommended sugar intake even before they start school each morning.

A survey conducted for the Change4Life campaign, found that children in England are consuming 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 per day, but by the end of the day children are consuming more than 3 times these recommendations.

The survey also indicated that parents are unsure what makes up a healthy breakfast for their children, as of those parents whose child was consuming the equivalent of 3 or more sugar cubes in their breakfast, over 8 in 10 parents (84%) considered their child’s breakfast to be healthy. 

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

The free app helps and encourages families to choose healthier options and works by scanning the barcode of products and indicating the amount of sugar, salt and fat content, using the familiar green, amber and red food symbols to highlight  low to high levels. The app allows parents to compare brands, and features food detective activities for children and mini missions the whole family can enjoy.

Cllr Maureen McLaughlin, Warrington’s executive board member for public health and wellbeing, said: “Sugary cereals, drinks and spreads are the main sources of sugar consumed at breakfast time. Throughout the day, many children are also consuming too much sugar, saturated fat and salt in items such as confectionery, biscuits, muffins, pastries and soft drinks. 

“These all contribute to an unhealthy diet and can lead to the build-up of harmful fat, causing weight gain and serious diseases in the future.

“We are very keen to promote the Be Food Smart initiative to parents in Warrington, to help them find out exactly what’s in the food they are buying so they can gain more control over their family’s diet. I encourage parents to download the app, which is very straightforward to use and helps you to choose healthier food and drink options for you and your children.”

You can download the Be Food Smart app from the iTunes Store or Google Play to get hints and tips to cut down the amount of total sugar, saturated fat and salt in your family’s diet.

Find out more about the Be Food Smart campaign here: po.st/C4L_Warrington

Recent reports show that childhood obesity in England has reached alarming rates. More than 1 in 5 children start primary school overweight or obese, rising to more than a third by the time they leave. Find out more by visiting www.gov.uk and typing Childhood Obesity Plan intro the search box.