Increased Sugar Consumption Among Children During Summer
As Ireland is still recovering from its longest heatwave in nearly a decade, parents may be tempted to help keep their children cool by giving them sugar filled treats such as ice cream and fizzy drinks. However, a new report from the British Dental Association has urged parents to try and limit their childs intake of treats, with studies revealing more than half of children in the UK are consuming at least twice the recommended daily sugar intake during the school holidays.
The study involved 1,000 parents with children between the ages of 2 and 17 and found a sharp increase in sugar intake during the summertime. A quarter of the parents involved in the survey said they gave their children twice as much sugar over summer when compared to the rest of the year. A further 15% said they gave their children three times as much sugar, with a further 11% saying their children were consuming more than five times as much sugar.
Four out of five parents expressed concern about the increased sugar intake. However, the study found that 25% of parents said they simply don’t have the time to take their children to the dentist.
“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,” said Dr Russ Ladwa, Chair of the British Dental Association’s Health and Science Committee.
“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,” suggested Ladwa.
Tooth extraction is the most common reason for hospital admission in the UK for 5 to 9 year-olds. A child in England has a tooth removed in hospital every 10 minutes and, according to NHS data, around one-quarter of 5-year-olds suffer from dental caries. It’s a startling pattern that is starting to emerge in Ireland as well.
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