A new study out of the UK is revealing some eye-opening information about how much sugar children under the age of 10 are actually consuming. With the new year upon us, many are steadfastly resolving to eat better and get healthier, but it seems we need to be making those same resolutions for our children. According to a survey done by Public Health England (PHE), children in the UK are exceeding the maximum recommended sugar intake for an 18-year-old by the time they reach 10 years of age.
PHE conducts a National Diet and Nutrition Survey continually over the years beginning in 2008. It looks at approximately 1000 people per year and looks at 'the food consumption, nutrient intake and nutritional status of the general population aged 1.5 years and over living in private households in the UK.' The survey found that children over the age of two are consuming a shocking amount of sugar a day. According to the BBC, the recommended max daily sugar intake for kids in the UK between the ages of four and six is 19 grams, which increases to 24 grams for kids between the ages of seven and ten. Children eleven and over are allotted 30 grams a day. The American Heart Association recommends no added sugar for children under the age of two and suggests that kids and teens consume less than an ounce of added sugars a day, and drink no more than 8 ounces of sugared beverages a week.
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The PHE survey found that UK children are consuming a whopping 52 grams of sugar a day, with more than half of that added sugar coming from sugary drinks, sweets including biscuits and cakes as well as breakfast cereals that have added sugars and foods that many parents think are healthy, like yogurts and puddings, but that actually contain a lot of sugar. The PHE suggests parents take the stand now to substitute these higher sugar foods and beverages in their house for healthier options to help their kids lower their sugar intake.
"Children are consuming too much sugar, but parents can take action now to prevent this building up over the years," Dr. Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE said. The BBC writes that 10% of the sugar in children's diets comes from sugary drinks, while another 10% comes from sweets including pastries and cakes, and 8% comes from sugary cereal. They're working with the food industry to try to reduce the amount of sugar in foods marketed to children, but suggest that parents be proactive in reading labels and making healthier options for their children to reduce their sugar intake at home.