With the launch of its Change4Life campaign, Public Health England (PHE) has issued a free barcode-scanning app that displays the sugar content of foods and beverages. Claiming that children ages 4 to 10 consume 22 kilograms of sugar per year—”the average weight of a 5-yearold”— the campaign also features TV, digital and outdoor advertising as well as educational packs to be distributed by schools.
Among other things, PHE highlights tooth decay as “the most common reason” for hospital admissions among children ages 5 to 9. To this end, the “Smart Sugar” app allows users to scan product barcodes at supermarkets to display the sugar content in grams or cubes. According to PHE, which notes that a single serving of soda contains 9 cubes of sugar, the recommended daily maximum sugar intake is (i) “5 sugar cubes for children aged 4 to 6,” (ii) “6 sugar cubes for children aged 7 to 10,” and (iii) “7 sugar [for] children aged 11 or older.”
“Children aged 5 shouldn’t have more than 19 grams of sugar per day. That’s 5 cubes, but it’s very easy to have more,” PHE Chief Nutritional Alison Tedstone said in a January 4, 2016, press release. “That’s why we want parents to be ‘Sugar Smart’. Our easy to use app will help parents see exactly where the sugar in their children’s diet is coming from, so they can make informed choices about what to cut down on.”