Youngsters need to avoid sugar trap

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone

The newly announced tax on fizzy drinks is supposed to help curb childhood obesity – but am I the only one who thinks that the easiest way to deal with the problem is to educate the parents?

My view has always been “a little of what you fancy does you good” or as my old mum says “everything in moderation”.

But nowadays there is such a selection of sugar-laden products on offer and you are bombarded with enticement to buy them wherever you go.

As I point out to mum, when she was growing up during the war years, sugar was rationed – I can hear her already saying “and it didn’t do us any harm”. But things like sweets and jam were a much sought after treat not an everyday part of the diet.

Nowadays – and I apologise for generalising – but most youngsters seem to expect sugary products for breakfast, lunch and dinner and often in between too.

Whether it be sugar-frosted breakfast cereal, biscuits at lunchtime or puddings with dinner, children seem to be on a sweet tooth frenzy.

Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong in them having some of these but surely we need to keep hammering home the message to mums and dads that it is kinder to their kids – and their kids’ teeth – to limit the sugar intake.

I realise that youngsters have a lot of growing to do and need their calories but when you see an overweight child waddling about you know that it’s not good.

Yes, it is hard to say no to your child, but when children ask for yet another sweet treat, you should stop and ask yourself if what you are really doing is risking killing them with kindness.

When I take Jack and Sophie out, I’m as guilty as the next doting granny of wanting to treat them but it will be an ice cream or sweets not both as I see lots of people doing.

It’s also good for children to realise that they can’t get 
everything they want, a hard lesson but one it is better if they learn sooner rather than later.

I enjoy a dessert after my meal or some squares of dark chocolate, but I know that if I was to indulge every day then I would soon be piling on (more) pounds.

I’ve realised my limitations but sadly children still need to reach that stage so it is up to their parents to do the moderating for them.

Do you really want to have a fat child with the real potential for bad teeth, health issues and run the real risk of being bullied over their size?

No – well do something now to ensure your youngster has a healthy respect for sugar.