Be Food Smart in 2017

Published: Friday 6th January 17

Wandsworth is backing a national campaign to reduce the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt being eaten by children.

The council's public health team is urging local families to download the new Food Smart app, so they can quickly see what's in the food they're eating.

In Wandsworth, there are an estimated 4,700  overweight and obese children aged four to 11.  Children are eating nearly three times the recommended daily amount of sugar – much of it at breakfast time in the form of sugary cereal and juice. In addition, a quarter of their saturated fat comes from unhealthy snacks, and much of the food they eat is full of salt.

The free app from Public Health England works by scanning the barcode of products, revealing the total sugar, saturated fat and salt inside. It also provides hints and tips for adults plus fun food detectives activities for kids.

The Be Food Smart app is available from the iTunes store or Google Play. Search Change4Life for more information.

Wandsworth Council commissions programmes to help teach young people about healthy eating and encourage them to become physically active. These are free to Wandsworth residents or people who have a Wandsworth GP:

  • Families with children aged between two and five years can take part in the MEND 2-5 programme. Find out more at http://www.mytimeactive.co.uk/ or call 020 8323 1725. 
  • Children aged between five and 18 years can sign up for  Beat IT, which helps young people and their families become more active and make healthy food choices. To find out more, call 020 8871 8357, or email  activelifestyles@wandsworth.gov.uk
  • Wandsworth also funds a free Cooking With Kids project run by the Mini Cooking Club at the London Food Project in Battersea. There are a few spaces left on the course starting this month. Visit www.theminicookingclub.org.uk/our-classes

The council has also placed restrictions on the opening of new fast food outlets near schools, and is working with schools to help encourage children to walk or cycle to school. It also supports schools to  achieve Soil Association awards for nutritious food and TfL Stars accreditation for physical activity.

Cabinet member for Children’s Services Cllr Kathy Tracey said: 

“Wandsworth is doing well in comparison to some other London boroughs, but excess weight in childhood remains a challenge. We have a range of measures in place to tackle this, but I would urge parents to do their bit by taking time to  download the app and find out what’s really in their children’s food.”

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