January 5, 2016 9:29 pm
Updated: January 5, 2016 9:34 pm

Your child probably eats his weight in sugar every year

On average, children consume three times more sugar than the maximum recommended amount, according to a new campaign by Public Health England.

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Your child is probably consuming his or her weight in sugar a year, according to health officials in the United Kingdom.

The average four- to 10-year-old child eats the equivalent of 5,543 sugar cubes a year, which works out to 22 kilograms, Public Health England (PHE) officials said in a release.

That’s more than the average five-year-old, who weighs around 20kg (the average Canadian five-year-old weighs closer to 24kg, according to the Canadian Paediatric Society).

READ MORE: Do you know how much sugar you’re eating? Sugar by the numbers

That high-sugar lifestyle is a problem, PHE’s Chief Nutritionist Alison Tedstone said in a news release.

“[It] can lead to painful tooth decay, weight gain and obesity, which can also affect children’s well-being as they are more likely to be bullied, have low self-esteem and miss school.”

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Over-indulging in sugar has also been linked to the development of breast and lung cancer, according to a study published this week by the University of Texas.

Officials recommend kids aged four to six years old eat less than a third of that – 19g a day or around 7kg a year. Seven-year-olds are recommended to cap their sugar intake at 24g a day (8.75 kg a year); kids older than 11, at 30g a day (10.95 kg a year).

That’s still less than half what the average British kid is consuming now.

It’s not just kids, either: in March, 2015, the World Health Organization called on people of all ages to reduce sugar consumption to 10 per cent of their daily caloric intake, which they said works out to 25g a day.

Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation estimates that sugar makes up around 13% of the average Canadian’s daily diet – but that’s a “conservative” estimate. That works out to around 62.4g a day, or 22.8kg a year. Their recommendations are the same as WHO’s.
Sugar facts

Sugar Facts:

  • As of 2015 the Canadian sugar industry directly employs 915 Canadians in four provinces: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
  • In 2014 Canada exported $437.7 million of sugar, including maple sugars and syrups. We imported almost double that, $836 million, most of which was unrefined cane sugar.
  • India is the world’s largest sugar consumer and second-largest producer behind Brazil, which produces 36 million tonnes.
  • The U.S. sugar industry spent $7.9 million on lobbying during the 2012 election. In 2014, it spent a record $9.6 million.

With files from Global’s Patricia Kozicka. 

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