Liverpool steps up ‘war on sugar’ with drive to cut consumption of breakfast cereals

Public Health Liverpool analysis shows that some of the brands popular with children including Frosties, Cocopops and Coco Shreddies contain between 2.4 and 3.7 sugar cubes per serving. Tony McDonough reports

Your breakfast cereal may contain more sugar than you think

Public health officials in Liverpool are stepping up their ‘war on sugar’ today by highlighting the amount of sugar in our most popular breakfast cereals.

Their analysis shows that some of the brands popular with children including Frosties, Cocopops and Coco Shreddies contain between 2.4 and 3.7 sugar cubes per serving.

A child could be having over half their maximum daily allowance – six cubes –  before they leave for school.

Health hazard

Too much sugar in a child’s diet can lead to obesity, tooth decay, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some common cancers in the future.

‘Save Kids from Sugar’ is the latest phase of the city’s war on sugar, which began last year when the city identified the high number of sugar cubes in some popular drinks.

New campaign

Over the next three months, Public Health Liverpool is highlighting the issue with a digital media campaign.

This will be backed up by pop-ups, posters and leaflets in health centres, dentist surgeries, children’s centres and hospitals identifying how many sugar cubes are in an average serving of popular brands.

Parents can log on to a new website – savekidsfromsugar.co.uk – and calculate how much sugar their children are consuming each day and get tips on healthier breakfasts.

There will also be events at supermarkets and public buildings to educate families, a community street fair in Walton, and the Public Health team will also be working with school breakfast clubs on healthy options.

Obesity drive

The drive is aimed at tackling an alarming level of childhood obesity in the city with 12% of reception school age children classed as obese.

More than 23% of year 6 children are obese, and almost 40% are overweight or obese.

Children aged between four and 10 consume approximately 5,500 sugar cubes each year hidden in their food and drink – more than the total body weight of an average five-year-old child.

Too much sugar

Cllr Tim Beaumont, Mayoral lead for wellbeing, said: “It is a myth that breakfast cereals are a healthy choice.

“Some are, but most are loaded with sugar. Families simply don’t realise how much is in them.

Public Health Liverpool infographic revealing the amount of sugar in popular breakfast cereals

“Combined with other sugary snacks, drinks and chocolate bars, this is contributing to an alarming level of tooth decay and obesity in children.

“Dentists are having to remove teeth from children as young as five under general anaesthetic on a weekly basis.”

The number of sugar cubes in the most popular cereals are listed here with each cube amounting to 4g of sugar:

3.7 – Frosties (Kellogg’s)

3.5 – Cocopops (Kellogg’s)

3.5 – Crunch Nut (Kellogg’s)

2.8 – Krave (Kellogg’s)

2.1 – Cheerios (Nestle)

1.5 – Shreddies (Nestle)

1 – Rice Krispies (Kellogg’s)

0.5 – Shredded Wheat (Nestle), Ready Brek (Weetabix Ltd) and Weetabix

The Liverpool campaign breaks cereals down in to high and medium sugar classifications and also recommends healthier options.

They include Shredded Wheat, Wheat Shreds, Ready Brek, Porridge Oats and Weetabix, or alternatives such as a boiled egg, scrambled egg or toast.

Director of Public Health, Dr Sandra Davies, said: “Tackling sugar in diets is a real priority for us because we know that people simply don’t realise how much they are consuming.

If we are to stand any chance of tackling this ticking time bomb, we must give parents as much information as possible so they can make informed decisions.

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