Back to news

​‘Sugar swaps’ campaign aims to help Southwark children fight obesity

Children in Southwark are being encouraged to halve their sugar intake under a new campaign to improve the long-term health of the borough.change4life-southwark ed.png

All primary school pupils will receive a free fun pack that tells them how to spot foods with a high sugar content and provides ideas for healthier substitutes.

The aim is to improve children's diets and help them maintain a healthy weight and ensure they are more informed about what they eat and drink.

Across England, official figures show that many children's diets include more than double the recommended amount of sugar and doctors are warning that this is partially to blame for an increase in diabetes, heart diseases and certain cancers. The average child in England consumes the equivalent of 2,800 sugar cubes more than they should each year [1].

Worryingly, latest figures for Southwark show that 26.2 per cent of all reception age children and 44.4 per cent of year six children in the borough are overweight or obese [2].

The new campaign, run by Change4Life, is trying to change this by providing children with fun games and stickers help them recognise food and drinks that contain more sugar.

It aims to educate primary schoolchildren – and their families – about how they can swap high-sugar drinks, cereals and desserts for healthier, low-sugar alternatives. 

Tips for making sugar swaps include:

  • Using the free Change4Life Food Scanner app to find out what the food you buy really contains (available on the App Store and Google Play
  • Check out 'traffic light' labels on food items  – usually displayed on the front of the pack – and select those with a green light for sugar
  • Look for the Change4Life 'Good Choice' badge in stores and when shopping online to help you find healthier options.

By educating children and their families about the sugar content of their food, we can enable them to make choices that improve their diet – and benefit their long-term health.