Kids, Treats and Portion Size.

9 January 2018

So Public Health England, (PHE) have started a new campaign called ‘Change4Life’ in 2018 to look to control and restrict the number of treats and snacks children in the UK consume. Their recommendations are for no more than two 100 calorie snacks per day for kids. Bearing in mind a single chocolate digestive biscuit is pushing towards 90 calories this recommendation doesn’t hold up well against my memories of our treats growing up in the 1960’s!! Change4Life are offering money off vouchers to try and convert kids to “healthier” treat options including sugar free fromage frais, malt loaf and drinks with no added sugar.

PHE note that many popular treats current enjoyed by UK youngsters are in excess of 200 calories per bar, bag or portion, with a small 45g bar of Cadbury’s chocolate being 240 calories, and most Mars single serve chocolate treats over 220 calories each. As this exceeds the total 200 calorie daily treat recommendation PHE are pushing and expect to see smaller product sizes in due course.

Now what struck me was the PHE research also showed that kids today are on average consuming 400 biscuits a year, th
at’s just over one a day; 120 buns pastries or cakes, so one every three days; a portion of sweets the equivalent one every three and a half days and a chocolate bar or ice cream seventy times a year. Discussing that amongst colleagues that is not a lot different to what we enjoyed thirty, forty or fifty years ago, and there was no so-called obesity crisis back then with hardly any of our peers carrying any extra weight.

I really think the apparent childhood obesity problem being presented by PHE is far more to do with kids now being stuck indoors on a computer, game station, or watching 24/7 TV rather rushing around outside for hours and hours as we did. Processed ready meals with salt and sugar as bulking agents, a multitude of fast food options, and larger portion sizes at meal time are likely much bigger contributors to this than the occasional treat or snack.

Given the choice of being force fed small portions of malt loaf whilst sat indoors or rushing around in the fresh air climbing trees or playing football with your mates until it was so dark you couldn’t see the ball with a pocket of sweets and a “real” Coca Cola, I know what I would chose all day long!

Written By: Colin at KSV.

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