Council backs healthy eating campaign for kids

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A new national initiative to encourage parents to ditch junk food in favour of healthy options is being backed by Nottinghamshire County Council.

The council is supporting the Change4Life campaign to tweak their children’s eating habits, calling on families to sign up to ‘Smart Swaps’ and make one easy change this January – like swapping sugary drinks to sugar free drinks.

By doing this, an average family could save up to three quarters of a bag of sugar over four weeks.

The Smart Swaps activity forms part of the council’s public health priority of tackling obesity, and follows the latest National Child Measurement Programme data for 2012-13 which shows that the number of obese children in Mansfield has fallen from 8.7 per cent to 8.5 per cent for four and five-year-olds, and from 19.4 per cent to 16.6 per cent for those aged 10 and 11.

In Ashfield the figures are at 8.7 per cent and 18.8 per cent respectively.

For Nottinghamshire overall, the averages stand at 8.2 per cent and 17.5 per cent.

Those who sign up will receive a free ‘Smart Swapper’ full of healthier swap and meal ideas and money off vouchers among other goodies.

A free Smart Recipes app will also be available with tasty, quick and healthier meal ideas, which can be downloaded from iTunes and GooglePlay.

Coun Joyce Bosnjak, chair of the Nottinghamshire Health and Wellbeing Board said: “Tackling childhood obesity is a very important priority in Nottinghamshire, and promoting a better diet can help us continue to reduce our numbers of overweight or obese young people.

“After the excesses of Christmas, New Year is the perfect time to start thinking about eating a bit more sensibly and cutting back on the calories. Signing up to Change4Life helps give families that nudge to think about what they can do to improve what they eat, and helps them along the way with some support and motivation.

“Good luck to everyone who signs up to Smart Swaps.”

Support for the campaign is gathering pace as it finds support from schools and pressure groups.

Among the Smart Swaps being advised is exchanging children’s sweet drinks for sugar-free versions, water or milk, trading cheese for 
low-fat options, swapping butter for margarine or spreads, choosing low-sugar cereals, and buying semi-skimmed milk rather than full fat.

To sign-up and choose your swaps this January, search Change4Life online.