Public Health England (PHE), an executive agency of the UK’s Department of Health, has launched a program called Change4Life, which is the country’s first social marketing campaign to address the causes of obesity.
A National Diet and Nutritional Survey conducted by PHE revealed that children are consuming entirely too much sugar, over half of which comes from snacks and sugary drinks. The analysis showed that primary school children have an average of over three sugary snacks per day.
Change4Life is aimed at making parents aware of more nutritious snacks that have less sugar, and is offering money-off vouchers on healthier snacks which have 100 calories or less. The program also offers a free food scanner app that enables parents to easily view the sugar, salt, and fat content in the products they are purchasing.
Dr. Alison Tedstone is the Chief Nutritionist at Public Health England.
Dr. Tedstone told the BBC , “If you wander through a supermarket you see many more things being sold as snacks than ever before. What has changed is kids’ lunch boxes are getting full of snacking products. It leads to a lot of calories for lunch. Our research showed us that parents appreciated a rule of thumb. They were surprised how much sugar their children were consuming in snacks.”
Change4Life is recommending that parents give children no more than two snacks per day, which contain no more than 100 calories each.
Dr. Tedstone said in a letter to The Guardian, “The food we eat has the biggest impact on our waistlines: you can’t run off a bad diet. That’s why we’re working with industry and others to improve the food we all eat, starting with lowering sugar and calories.”
The Change4Life campaign also encourages children to be more active. Currently, there are over four million families participating in the program.