Be Food Smart in 2017

Release Date: 13/01/2017

Richmond is backing a national campaign to reduce the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt being eaten by children.

The Council’s Public Health Team is urging local families to download the new Be Food Smart app, so they can quickly see what’s in the food they’re eating.

In Richmond, a fifth of 10 and 11-years-old are overweight or obese. This is much lower than the UK average of a third, and is the lowest in London, but is still too high. From reception to year six the percentage of children who are obese doubles, and that there are over 3,000 overweight or obeseprimary schoolchildren in Richmond.

Children are eating nearly three times the recommended daily amount of sugar – much of it at breakfast time in the form of sugary cereal and juice. In addition, a quarter of their saturated fat comes from unhealthy snacks, and much of the food they eat is full of salt.

The free app from Public Health England works by scanning the barcode of products, revealing the total sugar, saturated fat and salt inside. It also provides hints and tips for adults plus fun food detectives activities for kids.

The Be Food Smart app is available from the iTunes store or Google Play. Search Change4Life for more information.

In Richmond the Council is working to tackle childhood obesity by supporting schools to adopt the Healthy Schools London Programme. This aims to encourage a ‘whole school’ approach to health and wellbeing. In particular, schools are working to introduce the Daily Mile for all pupils, and to encourage their pupils and parents to make active travel choices such as walking or cycling to and from school.

Cabinet Member for Public Health, Cllr Lisa Blakemore, said:

"We all need to give our children the best start in life.

“Richmond is one of the most active boroughs in the country – where we have many green spaces and opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle and where residents’ tend to live longer. However, we can’t be complacent. Child obesity is still an issue. If these problems are not tackled early on there is a serious risk of them developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers in later life.

"There's also a link between obesity and decreasing levels of educational attainment due to issues like bullying, low self-esteem and less time spent doing physical activities with friends”.

Updated: 16 January 2017