Children’s health, a new government initiative

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In our regular features on general health, we are looking at a new government initiative to cut childhood obesity, where they have introduced new regulations on calorie counts. While the official guidelines will be voluntary the government is prepared to legalise if necessary.

What does this actually mean?

Well, the new legislation means that either the portion size will have to be reduced or that some ingredients will have to be swapped out for healthier options.

Why is this happening?

According to government research, 1 in 3 children leave primary school either overweight or obese. The government also knows that the general population are eating 200 to 300 more calories than they should be a day. Due to the success of the recent sugar cutting campaign, health professionals have put pressure on the government to reduce calories across all food.

How many calories are in our food?

  • 260 in a typical burger with cheese in a bun
  • 880 in a 10-inch takeaway pizza
  • 237 in a Krispy Kreme chocolate iced ring doughnut
  • 338 in a Greggs tuna mayonnaise white sub roll
  • 244 in a 400g tin of Heinz spaghetti

While these statistics may not seem shocking an average child should be eating around 1600-2500 calories a day. If you have frosties for breakfast and then a cereal bar as a snack. Lunch is a sandwich crisps, snack bar, fruit and a Ribena. Home from school a biscuit, and dinner followed by desert then you have already pretty much hit the calorie count for the day.

Some key statistics

  • As a guide, an average man needs around 2,500 calories a day to maintain a healthy body weight
  • For an average woman, that figure is around 2,000
  • These values can vary depending on age, size and levels of physical activity, among other factors
  • School-age children are advised to consume anywhere between 1,600 and 2,500
  • People on average consume between 200 and 300 calories more than they should

We would like to think this campaign will be as successful as the sugar cutting one (you can view our blog from some months back regarding that topic by clicking here) as we see the direct effects of a poor diet on children’s dental health.

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