Parents in County Durham are being urged to limit the sugar consumption of their children.

In County Durham, nearly a quarter of four and five-year-olds and one-in-three ten-year-olds are overweight while nationally children consume three times more sugar than they need.

In the UK, 50% of children’s sugar intake comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, leading to dental problems and obesity.

Such statistics have encouraged Durham County Council to support Public Health England’s Change 4 Life campaign. The campaign urges parents to choose snacks of no more than 100 calories for their kids and to limit them to two snacks per day.

Change 4 Life will complement the council’s existing healthy eating campaigns, such as Sugar Smart, which was launched in July last year.

Sugar Smart, an 18-month campaign coordinated by Food Durham, encourages people to cut their sugar intake.

Endorsed by the council’s Health and Wellbeing Board, Sugar Smart encourages employers and organisations to take action such as providing free drinking water, removing sugary snacks from vending machines and offering healthy meal deals.

Sugar Smart registration has also been made part of the criteria for employers wishing to enter the Better Health at Work awards.

According to the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the average UK adult consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar a day. The recommended limit is six teaspoons. Just one can of Coca-Cola contains 7 teaspoons.

Excessive sugar consumption can lead to a range of conditions such as fatty liver disease, tooth decay, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as increasing the risk of certain types of cancer.

Durham County Council’s cabinet member for adult and health services, Cllr Lucy Howels, said, “We know that nationally children consume three times more sugar than is recommended and in County Durham nearly one in four children aged four to five will have excess weight – a figure that will have risen to one in three by the time they are ten-years-old.”

“It is vitally important we address the issue of sugar consumption and these campaigns, which will help busy families make healthier choices, could make a big difference to the health of residents across the county.”

To learn more about Sugar Smart, please go to

For more information about Change4Life, please visit

(Featured image courtesy of James Emery, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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