Children consume more than a year’s worth of sugar in 6 months

Public Health England | June 2018 | Children consume more than a year’s worth of sugar in 6 months

It may only be June, but according to figures released today by Public Health England (PHE), children in England have already consumed the equivalent of a year’s intake of sugar.  PHE emphasises how children are on track to consume around 4,800 cubes of sugar by the end of the year, more than double the maximum recommendation (PHE).


Sugary soft drinks remain one of the main contributors of free sugars to children’s diets, more than ice cream and puddings combined.

The other sources of sugar in children’s diets are:

  • Sugary soft drinks (including squashes, juice drinks, energy drinks, cola and other fizzy drinks) 10%
  • Buns, cakes, pastries and fruit pies 10%
  • Sugars, including table sugar, preserves and sweet spreads 9%
  • Biscuits 9%
  • Breakfast cereals 8%
  • Chocolate confectionery 7%
  • Sugar confectionery 7%
  • Yoghurt, fromage frais and other dairy desserts 6%
  • Ice cream 5%
  • Puddings 4%

The full story is at PHE 


Change4Life Easy ways to be food smart 
In the media:

BBC News Children in England consuming ‘twice as much sugar as recommended’



Healthier weight promotion

A set of training tools providing evidence-based healthy weight messages for health and social care professionals to give to children, young people and families | Public Health England

The resources consist of:

The target audience for these resources is health and care professionals but they will be accessible to the wider public health workforce. This suite of resources is part of Public Health England’s All Our Health ‘call to action’ for health and care professionals.


Childhood obesity: Time for action

Childhood obesity: time for action |   Health and Social Care Select Committee


It was estimated that the NHS in England spent £6.1 billion on overweight and obesity  related ill-health in 2017/18. To put this in context, this is more than the Government  spent on the police, fire service and judicial system combined.

Childhood obesity is also a leading cause of health inequality. The burden is falling
disproportionately on children from low-income backgrounds. Obesity rates are highest for children from the most deprived areas and the inequality gap has widened every year since formal recording began as part of the child measurement programme.

The Government is expected to publish shortly a refreshed version of the childhood obesity plan. This report from the Health and Social Care Select Committee outlines the key areas which demand attention as a matter of urgency by the Government before the next chapter of the plan is finalised.

The key areas include: A whole systems approach

  • Marketing and advertising
  • Price promotions
  • Early years and schools
  • Takeaways
  • Fiscal measures
  • Labelling
  • Services for children living with obesity

Full report: Childhood obesity: time for action

See also: Childhood obesity is everyone’s business

22,000 children severely obese when they leave primary school

Local Government Association| May 2018 |22,000 children severely obese when they leave primary school

Children in their final year of primary school are nearly twice as likely to be obese as those in Reception, analysis by Local Government Association shows. Their analysis, the first of its kind for 2016/17 obtained by the LGA and supplied by the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP), of data shows more than 22,000 children aged 10 and 11 in Year 6 are classed as severely obese (LGA).


The analysis shows:

  • A total of 22,646 out of 556,452 (4.1 per cent) of 10 and 11 year-old children in Year 6 are classed as severely obese;
  • This is nearly twice that of the 14,787 out of 629,359 children (2.35 per cent) of four and five year-old children in Reception classed as severely obese, showing children are gaining weight at a drastic rate as they go through schools.

Social media and young people’s mental health and wellbeing

Royal Society for Public Health | May 2018| #StatusOfMind  Social media and Young people’s mental health and wellbeing

This report from Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) explores the positive and negative impact of social media on young people aged between 16-24, and their mental health and wellbeing. It also includes a league table of five social media platforms which have been ranked in order of their net impact on young people’s health and wellbeing by young people.

mental health young people
Image source:

The RSPH calls for

  1. The introduction of a pop-up heavy usage warning on social media
  2. Social media platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated
  3. NHS England to apply the Information Standard Principles to health information published via social media
  4. Safe social media use to be taught during PSHE education in school
  5.  Social media platforms to identify users who could be suffering from mental health problems by their posts and other data, and discreetly signpost to support
  6. Youth-workers and other professionals who engage with young people to have a digital (including social) media component in their training
  7. More research to be carried out into the effects of social media on young people’s mental health

The report can be downloaded here 

Tooth decay in five-year-olds continues to decline

Figures reveal 23% of five year olds in England had decayed, missing or filled teeth in 2017, down from 30.9% in 2008.


Levels of tooth decay in 5-year-old children are continuing on a steady decline, according to data recently published by Public Health England. However, clear inequalities in oral health remain, with children in deprived areas more likely to be affected. The risk of tooth decay is increased by consuming sugary foods and drinks and not brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

Public Health England has published two reports presenting information on the oral health of children at local authority level:


The correlation between child and adolescent obesity and poverty widened in the twenty-first century, according to UCL research

Bann, David et al. | Socioeconomic inequalities in childhood and adolescent body-mass index, weight, and height from 1953 to 2015: an analysis of four longitudinal, observational, British birth cohort studies  | The Lancet Public Health | Vol. 0 |  0 | ePub | Doi:

Researchers from University College London examined socioeconomic inequalities in childhood body- mass index (BMI).  Previous research findings revealed an association between rich countries and childhood-adolescent weight status, this study sought to address uncertainty surrounding how these markers (height, weight and BMI) have changed over time in Britain.

The longitudinal study looked at data from four longitudinal, observational, British birth cohort studies from 1946, 1958, 1970 and 2001. They categorised those in the 1946, 1958 and 1970 studies as the earlier-born cohorts and those from the 2001 cohort study as the later- born cohort.  They found that although inequalities traditionally associated with  height and weight narrowed or reversed, whereas differences in BMI between the poorest and wealthiest children expanded.

While there was little inequality in childhood BMI in the earlier-born cohorts, inequalities were present in the 2001 cohort and widened from childhood to adolescence in the 1958–2001 cohort. Their research has identified an association between obesity and poverty. According to the researchers, “these substantial changes highlight the impact of societal changes on child and adolescent growth and the insufficiency of previous policies in preventing obesity and its socioeconomic inequality. As such, new and effective policies are required to reduce BMI inequalities in childhood and adolescence.”

The full article is available from The Lancet Public Health 

As The Lancet Public Health is an open access journal the full article can be downloaded here 

Related: The Lancet’s comment Trends in childhood height and weight, and socioeconomic inequalities can be read here 

In the media:

The Telegraph  Poor children in Britain now fatter than wealthy in dramatic reversal

Express  Child obesity: How children lost the war on weight