A new report has been launched today at the House of Commons by the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood. The report highlights the insidious impact of ‘sports’ drinks and unhealthy snacking on children’s dental health.
The report, the 4th of its kind, laments the sedentary behaviour that has become so prevalent in childhood, with around 20% of children obese by the time they get to school.
Paediatric dental consultant Urshla Devalia, a member of The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry’s executive committee, is on the working group and has ensured that dental health features alongside obesity as a major health concern.
She said: “Combining play with nutritious foods makes sense but unfortunately, the wrong kinds of food and drink are being advertised at sporting activities. One of our key recommendations is for research to be undertaken into drink promotion alongside children’s activity and play programmes.
“Healthy foods, such as milk, fruit and vegetables are being replaced by so-called ‘sports’ drinks, fruit juices, cakes, sweets and biscuits. Some energy drinks contain as much as twenty teaspoons of sugar and contribute to both obesity and dental decay.
“Another of our recommendations is to develop a ‘combined’ approach to play and nutrition starting with some pilot schemes. But families need more support and education on food labelling, which continues to be confusing.”
BSPD spokesperson Claire Stevens commented: “We are delighted to be involved with the working group and that oral health is being considered in the context of overall health. We continue to support a tax on sugary drinks and we await Public Health England’s report on options to reduce sugar intake with interest.”