Sweet taste of success as Isle of Dogs kids join anti-sugar campaign to cut obesity

Pupils from Cubitt Town P:rimary use bar code app to test sweets at their local corner shop for suga

Pupils from Cubitt Town P:rimary use bar code app to test sweets at their local corner shop for sugar content - Credit: TH Cll

Children are getting their teeth into a campaign to cut down on sugar in London’s East End—which has one of the country’s highest rates of child obesity. The youngsters from a school on the Isle of Dogs took part in Tower Hamlets council launching its part in the national Change4Life campaign to reduce sugars in foods.

Pupils from Cubitt Town P:rimary use bar code app to test sweets at their local corner shop for suga

Pupils from Cubitt Town P:rimary use bar code app to test sweets at their local corner shop for sugar content - Credit: TH Cll

The seven-year-olds at Cubitt Town Primary were using a new app on their smartphones and tablets at the nearby Nisa Local foodstore to check produce.

They chose three items in the store that had less sugar and acted as shopkeepers by scanning items through the till.

“The children were shocked about how much sugar they eat,” Cllr Amy Whitelock Gibbs told the East London Advertiser.

“We are aware of the dangers of obesity to children for their health now and in the future, so the council is targeting youngsters to get them into good habits early.


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“We have to educate kids and their families about sugars in food.”

The store in Manchester Road was chosen because it has won the council’s Food for Health gold award for its fresh fruit and vegetables.

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The new app scans bar codes on sweets and biscuits and shows the sugar content as cubes, which even the youngest child can understand.

Obesity has had a bad impact on youngsters in the East End, although the rate is beginning to reduce.

“It’s been a huge problem with four-out-of-10 children aged 11 who are overweight or obese,” Cllr Whitelock Gibbs added. “It’s a challenge to get kids off sugar products, but we’re working with schools and families to get youngsters into the right habit early in life.”

Around 1,200 children are recorded in Tower Hamlets as overweight or obese—about 42 per cent, well above the 33pc national average.

Children aged four to 10 consume the equivalent of 5,500 sugar cubes a year, so the campaign targets seven-year-olds before they get hooked on sugars as they grow older.

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