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Children still eating double the recommended amount of sugar

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PHE recommends consuming five portions of fruit PHE recommends consuming five portions of fruit or vegetables each day

Children in England consume more than double the recommended amount of sugar despite reductions in the amount of sugary drinks consumed, PHE’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey has found.

According to the survey, children aged four to 10 years drank 100mls of sugary drinks on average in 2012 to 2014, a decrease from 130mls/day in 2008 to 2010. However, sugar makes up 13% of children’s daily calorie intake, while the official recommendation is to limit it to no more than 5%.

‘This data provides compelling evidence that we all need to eat more fruit, veg, fibre and oily fish and cut back on sugar, salt and saturated fat to improve our health,’ said Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE. ‘While it is encouraging that young children are having fewer sugary drinks, they still have far too much sugar in their diet overall, along with teenagers and adults.’

The survey also found that the problem extends to adults average saturated fat intake for adults aged 19 to 64 is 12.7% of daily calorie intake, above the 11% recommendation.

The same age group consume four portions of fruit and vegetables per day, older adults, aged 65 and over, consume 4.2 portions and children aged 11 to 18 consume 2.8 portions per day. Only 27% percent of adults, 35% of older adults and 8% of 11 to 18-year-olds meet the five portion per day recommendation for fruit and vegetables.

‘To help tackle this, PHE is launching a programme to challenge the food industry to remove at least 20% of the sugar in its products by 2020,’ added Dr Tedstone. ‘It’s an ambitious programme, a world first, and will be a significant step on the road to reducing child obesity levels.’

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