Youngsters learn how to be Sugar Smart

A SUMMER initiative aimed at teaching children about their sugar intake begins this month.

Children aged between four and 11 have been taking part in Sugar Smart, the Youth Commission’s summer playscheme running in conjunction with the Health Improvement Commission.

The commission’s community nutritionist Alex Kosmas said studies have shown that children could eat in excess of 5,500 sugar cubes in a single year, more than double what is recommended.

‘The aim of this project is to teach children from diverse backgrounds about different types of food and the effects of sugar on their bodies,’ he said.

‘We want to encourage healthy eating through a variety of activities, such as reading package labels, that children can learn and take into adulthood.

‘Young people do not have enough of an opportunity to try different foods out – it can take people 10 times to try something before they can start to enjoy it.

‘We’re even filming a 10-minute video of the activities to show to the children and parents what they have been learning and this will go up on YouTube.’

Based on UK figures, children and teenagers consume nearly three times their recommended amount of free sugar, which is any sugar added to food and drink and includes sugar in juice, syrup or honey. Guernsey is trying to reduce this with the help of this scheme, which teaches children to cook food with reduced amounts of sugar, as well as through taking part in activities aimed at eating well including food preparation and eating skills.

Picture by Sophie Rabey. 05-08-19. Youth Commissions Summer Playscheme is focusing on teaching children to eat well and learn more about sugar intake.. (25436946)

Sidney Sole, 8, said the day was teaching him a lot about his sugar intake.

‘I eat quite a lot of Gummy Bears,’ he said. ‘I think from what I’ve learned here about sugar, I won’t eat as much.’

Oliver Sparks, also 8, agreed: ‘I’ve learned so much and got to cook. We’ve spent time with Alex and he showed us this scanner that tells us how much sugar is in the food when he scans them.

‘It showed so much sugar in most things and I have a lot of tomato sauce with a lot of sugar in it – I won’t have so much of that now on my chips.’

Mr Kosmas added: ‘We hope to take the Sugar Smart scheme elsewhere and hope organisations will get in touch to also take up the project.’

Sugar Smart is a UK-based campaign set up by chef Jamie Oliver.

The local initiative is funded by a grant to the Health Improvement Commission from the Guernsey Community Foundation.

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