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New Change4Life resources "help pupils cut back on sugar"

The initiative comes as Public Health England reveals children are consuming 2,800 excess sugar cubes each year

Posted by Julian Owen | January 16, 2019 | Health & wellbeing

New NHS Change4Life teaching resources will support teachers to use English and maths lessons to help children cut back on sugar.

The move comes as a survey from Public Health England (PHE) reveals the average 10 year old has already consumed at least 18 years’ worth of sugar. While children’s sugar intakes have declined slightly in recent years, they are still consuming the equivalent to approximately 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.

For the first time, PHE has developed dedicated English and maths teaching resources for primary schools across England, in a bid to help pupils and families understand how much sugar is in their food and drink. It will also teach them about making healthier swaps to reduce sugar intake, complementing the national campaign encouraging parents to “make a swap when you next shop”.

Too much sugar can cause preventable health problems. Over a third (34%) of children are leaving primary school overweight or obese, and severe obesity in 10 to 11 year olds has reached an all-time high. More young people than ever before are also developing type 2 diabetes, and every 10 minutes a child in England has a rotten tooth removed in hospital.

While parents are encouraged to make healthier choices for the whole family, schools can also play an important role in children’s health, as part of a broader wellbeing programme.

Jon Moorhouse

Developed with teachers, the Change4Life English lesson plans introduce pupils to the characters of Sugar Smart World through interactive PowerPoints, pupil-led activities, recipe ideas from around the world, and a new video. Maths lesson plans will reinforce healthier swaps, while including important problem-solving skills using addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.

Children will learn that the number of extra sugar cubes they are consuming is enough to wrap around the world more than three and a half times.

Jon Moorhouse, deputy headteacher at Bolton's St Saviour CE Primary School, said: “Change4Life helps children realise just how much sugar is in everyday foods and drinks. The new resources are high quality, adaptable and can be used in other areas of the curriculum like personal, social and health education, English, maths and science.

Being more 'sugar smart' empowers children to help themselves and their families make healthier choices. This could have a big impact on children’s health for the rest of their lives.”

The resources are flexible to use and complement recently launched dental lesson plans, the first Change4Life teaching resources to help pupils understand the effects of sugar consumption on teeth.

To get involved with Change4Life, schools and teachers can:

 - Look out for the Sugar Smart World take-home packs arriving in schools from mid-late January

 - Search ‘Change4Life/schools’ online or visit the School Zone to access the new resources for schools

 - Sign up to the School Zone to be the first to hear about new teaching resources launching later this year


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