Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar

Childhood obesity is becoming more and more prevalent. In 2007, the Young persons’ behaviour and attitudes survey looked at nearly 7,000 pupils aged between 11 and 16 years. It reported that:

  • nearly half of all participants in the survey drank fizzy drinks or squashes that contain sugar at least once a day;
  • 39% ate crisps at least once a day;
  • 18% never ate breakfast on school days;
  • 61% ate sweets, chocolate bars or biscuits at least once a day.

Children need a little fat in their diets; however, too much fat can lead to unwanted weight gain and increases the risk of diseases such as obesity, diabetes and other major health problems. Most of the fat that children consume is hidden in foods such as processed meat products like pies, sausages and burgers, as well as pastry, crisps, tray bakes, cakes and biscuits. It is therefore important to limit the amount of these foods offered to children.

A poor diet high in sugary foods and drinks can cause tooth decay and can contribute to unwanted weight gain. Sweets, cakes, biscuits and fizzy drinks contain lots of calories but little nutrition. They should therefore be limited to an occasional treat and to meal times.