Lewisham doctors urges parents to bin the sugary snacks this January
Lewisham GPs and Public Health are calling on parents to 'look for 100 calorie snacks, and only two a day max' during January to combat continue the battle to reduce childhood obesity in the borough.
During January, and to support a national Change4Life campaign, parents in Lewisham 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.
Lewisham had the highest numbers of obesity-related NHS hospital admissions compared to the rest of London, according to figures published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC)[i]. In addition it was listed in the top 10 areas in Britain for obesity-related consultations. Figures show there were 66 obesity related consultations in the borough, per 100,000 residents.
Latest figures for childhood obesity[ii] also show that across England, the number of obese children in reception year has risen for the second consecutive year.
During January, parents in Lewisham will be able to visit the Change4Life website www.nhs.uk/change4life to receive money-off vouchers for healthier snacks and helpful tips and ideas on how to bin those sugary snacks.
They can also visit their local 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.
Dr Marc Rowland, local GP and Chair of NHS Lewisham CCG said: "In Lewisham, the percentage of children who are obese in their first year in primary school more than doubles by the time they reach their final year in primary school. This is very worrying as excess weight can have a significant effect on a child's happiness and quality of life, and it contributes significantly to the incidence and progression of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, circulatory disease and cancer.
"I would urge all parents to use this campaign as their reason to make a healthy swap and make healthy snacks a habit for life."
[i] Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) 2014
[ii] National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) 2016-17