Families in the South West are invited to “Be Food Smart” as Public Health England’s (PHE) Change4Life roadshow comes to Bristol and Gloucester.
Recent reports show that childhood obesity in England has reached alarming rates. Currently, 21.9% of 4 to 5-year-olds are overweight or obese in the South West, increasing to 30.3% in 10 to 11-year-olds.
PHE’s new Change4Life campaign urges parents to ‘Be Food Smart’ and take more control of their children’s diets.
At the event, families saw live demonstrations of the new Be Food Smart app that highlights just how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in everyday food and drink that their children consume. They also received free Be Food Smart information packs, making it easier to make the healthier choice at home.
Justine Womack, Health and Wellbeing Programme Lead for Public Health England South West, said:
“The latest child obesity figures for the South West indicate that our children are eating and drinking too much sugar, so the roadshows are one way of reaching people to demonstrate how the app can help them and provide dietary information they may not have known before.
“We’ve developed our Be Food Smart app because the amount of sugar and saturated fat hidden in processed food plays a significant role in causing childhood obesity. We want to make it easy for families to know how much sugar, fat and salt they’re actually eating.”
The free app helps and encourages families to choose healthier options and works by scanning the barcode of products allowing parents to compare brands, and features food detective activities for children and mini missions the whole family can enjoy.
The campaign also helps parents identify the health harms of children eating and drinking too much sugar, saturated fat and salt, including becoming overweight or obese and developing tooth decay.
Councillor Andrew Gravells, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities at Gloucestershire County Council said:
“We know obesity and childhood obesity can have a major impact on physical and mental health, so I’m delighted that Public Health England is bringing its Change4Life roadshow to Kings Walk in Gloucester.
“With lifestyles as busy as they are today we could all benefit from a little extra insight into food and nutrition. I’m particularly looking forward to this app being available on the Apple app store and Google Play, offering food for thought when it comes to making healthier choices.”
Cllr Fi Hance, Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“In Bristol we know that a third of our year six aged children are now over a healthy weight, and around 57% of adults are too, so we have a responsibility to do something about that.
“The Change4Life campaign and the new app make it easy for families to understand what’s in their food so that they can make more informed choices. Bristol recently became a Sugar Smart City, and we’re working with a whole range of partners to get messages out there, so the roadshow is a great addition to what we’re doing locally.”
The new Change4Life ‘Be Food Smart’ campaign is touring the country, visiting 29 shopping centres and 40 supermarkets nationally.