Children are having nearly three times more sugar than they should. Too much sugar can lead to an internal build-up of harmful fat. The presence of this fat around vital organs can cause weight gain and increase the risk of serious diseases in the future including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
According to National Child Measurement Programme, data has shown the prevalence of obesity continues to rise in children aged 4-5. In 2016/17 almost a quarter of aged 4-5 year old were measured as being either overweight or obese. As well as obesity, too much sugar can cause tooth decay, which is the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged between 5-9. 12% of 3 year old are presenting with visible tooth decay, with this figure increasing to nearly 25% in 5 year olds.
To maintain good oral health in children we have some top tips:
1. Be sugar smart – make healthier food and drink choices.
2. Visit the dentist regularly.
3. Brush teeth twice a day for at least two minutes.
4. Avoid sugary food and drink before bedtime.
5. Sugary food should be eaten less often and only at mealtimes.
6. Sugary drinks should have no place in a child’s daily diet. The best drinks are lower fat milk and water.
7. Fruit and vegetable juices contain vitamins and minerals and can count as one of a child’s five a day. However, intake should be limited to 150ml per day and should only be consumed at meal times.
8. Parents needn’t worry about sugar levels in lower fat mils or plain low fat, low sugar yoghurts.
9. Don’t replace sugary snacks with salty ones. Instead try snacks such as plain popcorn or rice cakes.