Children in Manchester are eating more than their recommended daily sugar intake – in sweet treats alone.
Research to mark Sugar Awareness Week shows kids in Manchester are eating the equivalent of two 1kg bags of sugar a year just by going to friends’ birthday parties.
Easter weekend sees children in Manchester consume an average of 420g of sugar, 220g at Halloween – and over the Christmas period a huge 1,481g.
The government recommends that children aged 16 should eat an average of no more than 30g per day (27g for girls and 33g for boys), with 24g for 7-10-year-olds and 10g for 4-6-year-olds.
But parents of under-16s in the city say their children are eating 44g of sugar on a typical school day just by eating extra treats, according to a survey for natural sweetener NatVia by Atomik Research.
Paul Evans, Vice Chairman of the British Obesity Society and Operations Director for School Health UK, said: “This worrying survey shows British children are treating their way to a health timebomb.
“Eating too much sugar is linked to obesity, heart problems, tooth decay and diabetes – and it will cost the NHS millions to treat these diseases in the future.”
Parents in Manchester claim their kids are eating on average three biscuits, three chocolate bars, two cans of fizzy drink and three cups of fruit juice during a typical school week day.
Children in the city attend an average of nine birthday parties a year where they consume an average of 248g of sugar at each one by munching on cake and sweets, among other sugary treats.
This means that children in Manchester are eating an average of 2,232g of sugar at birthday parties alone over the course of the year.
Most (95%) parents of under-16s say they put sweets into their children’s party bags, with the most popular being bags of sweets (54%), lollipops (52%) and chocolate bars (52%).
Easter sees children chomp through an average of five eggs; with each egg containing an average of 61.6g of sugar, this amounts to 308g from chocolate eggs alone.
And with children also tucking into bags of sweets and chocolate bars at Easter, parents believe their kids are eating as much as 420g of sugar from sweet treats.
Summer sees children in Manchester consuming an extra 286g of sugar a week on average as they eat two ice creams or lollies,on top of fizzy drinks and fruit juice.
And a fifth (20%) of parents in the city say their child eats five or more ice creams or lollies during a week over the summer holidays.
At Halloween, kids’ sugar intake hits 220g as they indulge in an average of four small bags of sweets and four chocolate bars.
Just over half (51%) of parents in Manchester surveyed say sweet treats are part of the fun of the occasion, and a fifth (20%) let their children decide how many sweets they eat.
A third (33%) of parents in the city say they are not concerned at all about their kids’ sugar consumption.
Biggest worries for parents about their children’s sugar consumption was tooth decay (40%), dental cavities (42%) and obesity (32%).
Sam Tew, Director of NatVia, said: “It is so important that children can enjoy themselves on special occasions.
“But do they need a treat every day? How necessary is that bar of chocolate at the end of the school day?
“Do they really need that lollipop as a reward or a can of fizzy drink if they are thirsty? By just pausing for a moment and asking ourselves these questions – and then replacing the sugary treat with a healthier snack, we could be creating a better future for the younger generation.”