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Southwark GPs urge parents to bin sugary snacks for children

Local doctors are calling on parents to 'look for 100 calorie snacks, and only two a day max' to continue the battle to reduce childhood obesity in the borough.

In support of the national Change 4 Life campaign, parents in Southwark are being urged to switch to healthier snacks as a good way to reduce the amount of sugar their children consume.

According to Public Health England, children eat nearly three times more than the recommended amount of sugar, putting their health at risk. The campaign to switch to healthier snacks focuses attention on the fact that half the sugar that children consume comes from snacks and sugary drinks.

Rates of childhood obesity in Southwark remain high and there are particularly worrying increases in the number of obese children in school year 6 – 44% of children in this year group were classed as obese or overweight at the end of 2016-17.  In school year R (Reception), 26% were obese or overweight.

Dr Yvonneke Roe, Clinical Lead for Early Action at NHS Southwark CCG, said: "In Southwark, still too many children are starting school overweight or obese and we have to change that. Excess weight can have a significant effect on a child's happiness and quality of life, and it can lead to long term and serious health conditions in adulthood, such as type 2 diabetes, circulatory disease and cancer.

"Therefore, I would urge all parents to think before offering their child a sugary snack and make a healthy swap, so we can make healthy snacks a habit for life."

During January only, the Change 4 Life website is offering money-off vouchers for healthier snacks and helpful tips and ideas on how to bin those sugary snacks.

At any time, parents and carers can also visit the Southwark public health website for information on how to get started with exercise and other healthier lifestyle changes, as well as how to access weight control services available in the borough.