Recent data suggests that over 13 per cent of Leeds children in their last year at primary school are overweight.
The new Change4Life campaign launched by Public Health England is getting an extra push in Leeds as families are encouraged to make easy swaps from unhealthy snacks to healthy ones.
Leeds has been one of the top performing areas in recent Smart Swap campaigns, and the efforts being made by individuals and families around the city will pay dividends for years to come, believes Councillor Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board.
Almost one in five children aged 4-5 years is overweight or obese, rising to one in three children aged 10-11 years. Children’s sugar consumption, as a percentage of energy intake, is up to 50% greater than the current SACN recommendation.
Cllr Mulherin said:
“A healthy diet can make a big difference to a whole range of short and long term health issues. From the impact of sugar on teeth, to excess sugar causing fat to build up inside the body, with potential consequences like heart disease, some cancers, or type 2 diabetes later in life, there’s a lot to be gained by watching what we eat and drink.”
“In Leeds we are using the idea of swapping to have a Smart Swapathon to encourage people to make swaps to reduce fat, salt and sugar from everyday foods and to think about ways to be more active this New Year. The work Emma and the Smart Swaps team are doing makes it easier for us all to make our diet and our children’s diet healthier.”
Emma Strachan, Health Improvement Specialist with Leeds City Council’s Public Health team, said:
“The Smart Swapathon is a great chance to discuss healthy swaps, whether that is in your home, organisation, school or workplace. Have a chat about making small changes to what we eat or do over the six week campaign that commenced on 19th January – 27th February.
“We want to record the number of swaps made in Leeds over the campaign, so are encouraging everyone to register to support the Smart Swapathon at www.leedsletschange.co.uk/smartswaps .
“Registering allows you to access your own online totalizer to record the number of swaps you make. All swaps are also entered on the main web page totalizer to record our city total. There’s also lots of information and advice about ideas for swaps. There are lots of prizes available offered on a lottery basis for organisations who upload swaps to the website. Once you login to the website using your username and password the website is animated so it’s really fun to see all your swaps enter the totalizer – why not have a look and see?”
The Leeds Smart Swapathon is part of the national Change4Life campaign.