Health chiefs declare war on sugar and fat in Sunderland

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HEALTH chiefs today launched a campaign to help Wearside families cut sugar and fat from their daily diet.

Change4Life’s Smart Swaps TV advertising will focus on changing sugary drinks to diet, sugar-free or milk – which could save an average family up to three quarters of a 1kg bag of sugar over four weeks.

The Smart Swaps campaign is launched as latest figures from the 2012/13 National Child Measurement Programme reveals that more than a third (36 per cent) of children aged 10-11 in the North East carry excess weight.

Last month, the Echo revealed how Sunderland youngsters were winning the battle of the bulge – but were still higher than the national average.

A report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre highlighted how 10.6 per cent of reception age children in the city are classed as obese with 21.3 per cent of Year 6 pupils also overweight.

The national average obesity rate for Year 6 children in England now stands at 18.9 per cent, with reception age children at 9.3 per cent.

As part of the latest Public Health England campaign, a Change4Life roadshow will be visiting the Gates Shopping Centre, in Durham, to help inspire families who want to make healthy changes.

The January 26 event will feature live cookery demonstrations and interactive games.

Dr Roberta Marshall, director of the North East Public Health England Centre, said: “More needs to be done to help families cut out certain unhealthy elements of their diet in order to improve their health and wellbeing.

“Swapping like-for-like food in your diet could help you cut out surprising levels of fat, sugar and ultimately calories. By reducing the amount of sugar in a child’s diet, parents will also be helping to reduce the risk of their children developing dental decay.”

For more information search for Change4Life online.