If you’ve ever run the gauntlet of the leisure centre vending machines after a swimming lesson, or ended up in a battle of wills with a toddler over a box of cereal in the supermarket, this one is for you.
The Children’s Food Trust’s ‘State of the Nation’ report shows that tackling the sweet tooth of this generation’s children will be a public health test like no other.
Our report looks at how children across the UK eat today and at the enormity of the task facing parents in getting children to eat more healthily. In our research, we found more than half of parents think their child has too much sugar as part of their everyday diet.
Cutting down on the sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits they buy, getting rid of sugary squash in the house and buying healthier breakfast cereals were among the steps most parents wanted to take to reduce their child’s sugar intake.
But when asked why they hadn’t already made those changes, more than 25% of parents said they were habits which were hard to break and almost one in five said their child would simply complain too much.
Additionally, more than a third of parents (36%) say their children pester them for confectionary or sugary soft drinks at least once a day, and it’s most likely to happen at the supermarket or while watching TV.
Crucially, around four out of ten parents said it’s difficult or very difficult to refuse when their child asks for these items.
We’ve all got to do our bit in helping kids eat better, and for the food industry, that means taking a strong lead. We’ve seen some exciting and innovative commitments from big food names recently, announcing plans to cut sugar in many products. Where the market leaders go, others will follow – so we need to see even more brands becoming trailblazers for a brave new world in which we put children’s health first.
Linda Cregan, CEO Children’s Food Trust