Families in Ramsgate have taken part in a healthy eating day to help learn how to cut back on sugar and get active.
The Healthy Families event at Priory Children’s Centre saw parents and children taking part in informative sessions aimed at promoting the Change4Life and One You campaigns, which promote healthy living.
Youngsters were encouraged to have fresh fruit and water in place of fizzy drinks, chocolate and sweets, while parents were able to talk to healthy lifestyle advisors about issues including smoking, alcohol consumption and keeping active.
Recent data shows childhood obesity has reached alarming rates, with nearly 21% of four to five-year-olds overweight or obese in Kent last year, increasing to 33% in 10 to 11-year-olds.
Around 16% of five-year-olds in the county also have tooth decay.
Leanne Hawker from Priory Children’s Centre says it is important to hold events like the Healthy Families day due to the increase in obesity figures.
“Lots of people are also confused by all the information out there so it’s good to bring it down to basics and allow families to get a handle on all the information they read in the papers,” she said.
According to Public Health England, on average, children are consuming eight more sugar cubes every day than the recommended amount, equivalent to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.
It means children have already exceeded the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18-year-old by the time they reach their 10th birthday.
Mum Megan Jones attended the children’s centre event with five-year-old son Leo.
She said: “It’s really useful seeing things like how much sugar is in soft drinks and cereals as it really makes you think.
“Maybe I’ll be a bit more aware in future and drink less coke as I certainly drink too much of that.”
KCC director of public health Andrew Scott-Clark says poor diet and too much sugar is a growing issue.
“It is the key contributor to the growing obesity rates seen both nationally and locally in Kent,” he said.
“Reducing the amount of sugar children consume can often be a challenge for parents but by asking them to ‘make a swap when you next shop’, we’re making it easier for families to find healthier options of the foods they love.”
The Change4Life campaign encourages parents to make simple everyday swaps that can reduce children’s sugar intake from some products, such as yoghurts, drinks and breakfast cereals, by half while giving them healthier versions of the foods and drinks they enjoy.
For more information go to http://po.st/C4LK