Parents urged by safefood.eu to say ‘No’ and cut down on sweets, biscuits and crisps everyday.
As part of its campaign to take on childhood obesity, safefood is urging parents to say no to everyday sweets, biscuits and crisps and cut down on the amount of treat foods children are eating. Alarmingly, at present 20% of children’s daily calorie intake is from these foods with little or no nutritional value. The latest phase of the campaign is emphasising the importance of reducing treat foods at home and creating healthier snack habits.
It is estimated that on average, a child typically consumes over 16kgs of treat foods per year – the equivalent of 140 small chocolate bars, 105 tubes of sweets, 36 packets of jam filled biscuits and 118 bags of crisps. This doesn’t include foods like ice cream, cakes, pastries, buns and puddings that a child would typically eat.
At present, approximately 1 in 4 primary school children are overweight or obese. The prevalence of excess weight is also beginning earlier in childhood, with 6% of 3 year olds currently being obese.
Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, Director, Human Health & Nutrition, safefood continues “We are giving our children treat foods every day and in many cases, several times a day. These nutritionally poor foods, which are often referred to as ‘empty calories’, are given at the expense of nutritionally rich foods in our children’s diets. Eating patterns developed in early childhood tend to last. Parents need to be aware of the health risks associated with over-consumption of these types of foods. It’s simply a matter of cutting down on treat foods to a more sensible level, basically, much smaller amounts and not every day.”