Change4Life hits the road to help families “Be Food Smart”

Families in the South West are invited to “Be Food Smart” when Public Health England’s (PHE) Change4Life roadshow travels to towns and cities across the region.

Recent reports show that childhood obesity in England has reached alarming rates. Currently, 21.9% of 4 to 5-year-olds are overweight or obese in the South West, increasing to 30.3% in 10 to 11-year-olds.

In Somerset with Reception class aged children (aged 4-5 years), one in five children (20.1%) measured were either overweight or obese. Somerset is now below both the regional average (21.9%) and the national average (22.1%).

In Year 6 (age 10-11 years) this proportion increases to almost three in ten (28.8%), which is also lower than both the South West regional and England averages of 30.3% and 34.2%.

PHE’s new Change4Life campaign urges parents to ‘Be Food Smart’ and take more control of their children’s diets.

In Somerset families can see a live demonstration of the new Be Food Smart app at an event on Friday 27th January 2017 at Morrison’s, The Broadway, Bridgwater.

It will highlight to parents just how much sugar, saturated fat and salt can be found in everyday food and drink that their children consume. They will also receive free Be Food Smart information packs, making it easier to make the healthier choice at home.

Justine Womack, Health and Wellbeing Programme Lead for Public Health England South West said:

“The latest child obesity figures for the South West indicate that our children are eating and drinking too much sugar, so the roadshows are one way of reaching people to demonstrate how the app can help them and provide dietary information they may not have known before.

“We’ve developed our Be Food Smart app because the amount of sugar and saturated fat hidden in processed food plays a significant role in causing childhood obesity. We want to make it easy for families to know how much sugar, fat and salt they’re actually eating.”

The free app helps and encourages families to choose healthier options and works by scanning the barcode of products allowing parents to compare brands, and features food detective activities for children and mini missions the whole family can enjoy.

Trudi Grant, Somerset Director of Public Health said: “The new Be Food Smart app is great news for the health of our families and children in Somerset. It will help them to cut back on the sugar, saturated fat and salt found in everyday food and drink, helping to reduce childhood obesity and prevent tooth decay.

“We are really keen to support Somerset residents to eat healthily and be more active. Another good way is to use the Zing Somerset website (www.zingsomerset.co.uk).  It’s a really useful resource that gives extra help and support to the families and communities that need it most.”

Cllr Anna Groskop, Cabinet member with responsibility for Public Health said: “Just small changes in what we eat can make a really big difference, and what better way of checking what the family are eating than with this fun app.”

The new Change4Life ‘Be Food Smart’ campaign is touring the country, visiting 29 shopping centres and 40 supermarkets nationally.

-ends-

Notes to Editors

Somerset statistics are taken from the SINE website http://www.somersetintelligence.org.uk/obesity.html

For further information about the South West Change4Life Be Food Smart roadshow and other events please contact
Steve Weatherell, Press and Communications Officer, PHE South West
0117 9689166 | 07775027768