The Dentist Magazine.

Heatwave driving spike in sugar consumption among kids

Published: 7/9/2018 12:00:00 AM

The British Dental Association has urged restraint as new figures show kids are eating five times their recommended daily sugar intake during the summer, with the heat pushing them to ice creams, lollies and soft drinks.  

A poll of 1,000 parents with children aged 2‐17 conducted by mydentist found sugar intake will be hugely boosted during the break from school. 24.5 per cent of parents estimated they gave their children twice as much sugar over summer compared to other times of year. 15.6 per cent said three times as much, with 11.5 per cent suggesting more than 5 times.

The BDA has been a leading advocate of action on sugar, including the soft drinks industry levy. It has called on parents to take responsibility over sugar consumption, and on ministers to deliver an ambitious follow up to its landmark Obesity Strategy, with measures to restrict the marketing, sale and formulation of sugary products.

Every ten minutes a child in England has a tooth removed in hospital due to preventable decay, according to figures from Public Health England. Tooth extraction also remains the most common reason for hospital admissions in 5 to 9‐year olds.

Russ Ladwa, chair of the BDA’s Health and Science Committee, said, “It is tempting to beat the heat with soft drinks and ice cream, but parents must recognise the damage these sugar-laced confections can do.

“Tooth decay is now a wholly preventable epidemic, and the number one reason a child will be admitted to hospital. Yes, we need parents to take responsibility over what they buy, but ministers also need to force industry to change the way they formulate and market these products.

“Added sugar is cheap, addictive and nutrient free. Ultimately if you want to keep the kids cool and hydrated, reach for the water.”