Young readers snack their way to success

Families across West Sussex have been busy learning which everyday foods and drinks contain the most sugar, and spotting healthier snacks and drinks.
This spring hundreds of people entered the Healthier Snacking Challenge at libraries across the county, which supported the national Public Health England Change4Life nutrition campaign, aiming to help parents to reduce children’s sugar intake by introducing the new simple tip – ‘Look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max’ .
The treasure hunt style quiz developed by West Sussex Public Health, as part of the West Sussex Sugar Reduction Programme, and delivered in partnership with the West Sussex Library Service, saw them scouring the bookshelves for answers to a number of questions about how many cubes of sugar are in family favourites, such as ice cream, cans of fizzy drink and juice cartons. They also worked out which foods made the perfect healthy snack, and which ones could lead to toothache.
12 lucky winners were presented with a copy of Children’s Cookbook, Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows and Purples.
Youngsters are getting half their sugar intake from soft drinks and unhealthy snacks, like cakes and biscuits. Children with a healthier diet are happier and better able to concentrate in school.
Childhood obesity is a serious concern with figures showing that in West Sussex 20.7 per cent of Reception aged children and 28.6 per cent of Year 6 children were overweight or obese in 2016/17.
One of the winners at Crawley Library was 10-year-old Elijah Norton. His mum, Rachel Norton, said: “It was eye opening taking part in the Healthier Snacking Challenge with my boys. There is more sugar in some everyday foods than we might imagine and it is good to raise awareness of this!
“It was a nice surprise for Elijah to win the prize and it has some lovely recipes in it.”
Elijah said he was very pleased with his prize. He said: “It is a good book and I am looking forward to making something from it!”
Amanda Jupp, the County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “Unhealthy snacks and drinks account for around half of a child’s sugar intake. We all know that too much sugar can lead to serious health problems, as well as tooth decay.”
“I am delighted that so many children took part in this year’s Healthier Snacking Challenge, and hope that they are able to take all of their new-found knowledge into their everyday lives to ensure they lead happy and healthy lives.”
West Sussex families are encouraged to visit www.nhs.uk/change4life for healthier snacking ideas and to download the free Change4Life Food Scanner App to see what’s really inside their food and drink, discovering which ones are healthiest! Available from the App Store and Google Play.

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