Half the sugar children consume comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks


  • New Change4Life campaign encourages parents to give children “2 snacks max” per day, to help cut their sugar intake.
  • Public Health England (PHE) has created a suite of new Change4Life resources for primary schools to help inform pupils and their families about healthier snacking choices.


PHE is helping families and schools reduce children’s sugar intake by launching the first Change4Life campaign promoting healthier snacks.

This is because half of children’s sugar intake, currently around 7 sugar cubes a day 2 , comes from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks 1 , leading to obesity and dental decay.

The new Change4Life campaign supports teachers in helping pupils and parents reduce sugar intake through a simple rule of thumb – “2 snacks max” per day.

On average, children are consuming at least 3 unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming 4 or more. To help address this, schools can access a range of fun activity ideas designed to help school councils promote healthier snacking through the new school
council toolkit. Pupils will champion healthier snacking and share their knowledge with other pupils, parents and the school community.

The “2 snacks max” tip applies to all snacks apart from fruit and vegetables, as children should also be encouraged to eat a variety of these to achieve their 5 A Day.

With children consuming three times more sugar than is recommended, new Change4Life teaching resources help pupils to identify healthier snacks and interpret food labels to understand sugar content. Teachers can use these fun resources to run a pupil-led assembly and schools can even
invite parents to show them what pupils have been learning about healthier snacks.

The new Healthier Snacking Show is a fun, curriculum-linked game show presentation that can be delivered in either a classroom setting or performed as a whole-school assembly.

In January, 3.6 million Family Snack Challenge leaflets will be distributed via the School Fruit and Veg Scheme to over 16,500 primary schools.

The leaflets include a fun activity challenge for children to take home and enjoy with their families.
Parents can also sign up to Change4Life to receive money off vouchers for healthier snacks, stickers for the kids and helpful tips and ideas.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “The true extent ofchildren’s snacking is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar. Schools and parents face a huge challenge in changing children’s snacking habits and we want to make it easier for them.
“With children currently having unhealthy snacks throughout the day, 2 snacks max is a good rule of thumb to help reduce their sugar intake.”

Helen Stevens, Key Stage 1 Lead and Year 2 Teacher, Melbury Primary School, Nottingham, said: “At our school, there is great concern about kids’ snacking and we’re keen to help them develop healthier habits. The idea of ‘healthier’ food can be quite an abstract concept for pupils, but
we can help them to make more informed decisions by showing them how much sugar is in everyday snacks.”

“That’s why Change4Life’s new resources are a welcome addition – they provide a clear and simple approach to promoting healthier snacking.”

PHE’s improved Change4Life ‘Food Scanner’ app also shows how many calories, sugar, salt and saturated fat is in food to help make healthier choices easier. It can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play.

Search Change4Life/schools to download new resources for teachers, school councils and whole-school assemblies.

Schools can send in their photos or details about what their school is doing to encourage healthier snacking to partnerships@phe.gov.uk

News post will be removed on Sunday September 9th, 2018