New Change4Life teaching resources will support teachers to use English and Maths lessons to help children cut back on sugar.
This comes as Public Health England (PHE) reveals the average 10 year old has already consumed at least 18 years’ worth of sugar. While children’s sugar intakes have declined slightly in recent years, they are still consuming around eight extra sugar cubes each day, equivalent to around 2,800 excess sugar cubes per year.
For the first time, PHE has developed dedicated English and Maths teaching resources for primary schools across England, to help pupils and their families understand how much sugar is in their food and drink. It will also teach them about making healthier swaps to reduce their sugar intake.
This will complement the national campaign encouraging parents to “make a swap when you next shop”, to help families enjoy healthier versions of the foods and drinks they are currently consuming.
Too much sugar can cause preventable health problems. Over a third (34%) of children are leaving primary school overweight or obese, and severe obesity in ten to eleven year olds has now reached an all-time high. More young people than ever before are also developing Type 2 diabetes, and every ten minutes a child in England has a rotten tooth removed in hospital.
While parents are encouraged to make healthier choices for the whole family, schools can also play an important role in children’s health, as part of a broader wellbeing programme.
Developed with teachers, the new English lesson plans introduce pupils to the characters of ‘Sugar Smart World’ through fun, interactive PowerPoints, pupil-led activities, recipe ideas from around the world and a new video. Change4Life Maths lesson plans will reinforce healthier swaps, while including important problem solving skills using addition, subtraction, division and multiplication.
Through the lesson activities, children will learn that the number of extra sugar cubes they are consuming is enough to wrap around the world more than three and a half times.
Jon Moorhouse, Deputy Headteacher, St Saviour CE Primary School, Bolton said:
“Change4Life helps children realise just how much sugar is in everyday foods and drinks. The new resources are high quality, adaptable and can be used in other areas of the curriculum like Personal, Social and Health Education, English, Maths and Science.
“Being more sugar smart empowers children to help themselves and their families make healthier choices. This could have a big impact on children’s health for the rest of their lives.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE, said:
“Children are consuming too much sugar and obesity is a very real threat to their health. Educating them on the importance of a healthy balanced diet in their early years can help them avoid serious illness in future.
“By making simple swaps each day, children can have healthier versions of everyday foods and drinks, while significantly reducing their sugar intake.”
The resources are flexible to use and tailored for Reception, Key Stage 1 and upper and lower Key Stage 2 pupils. They complement recently launched dental lesson plans – the first Change4Life teaching resources to help pupils understand the effects of sugar consumption on teeth.
To get involved with Change4Life, schools and teachers can:
- Look out for the Sugar Smart World take-home packs arriving in schools from mid-late January.
- Search ‘Change4Life/schools’ online or visit the School Zone to access the new resources for schools.
- Sign up to the School Zone to be the first to hear about new teaching resources launching later this year to help embed healthier habits in your school.
 PHE collects data on children’s sugar intakes from the age of two through its National Diet and Nutrition Survey (NDNS): https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/ndns-results-from-years-7-and-8-combined. The average 10 year old has already consumed at least 138 kilos of sugar; if children were to keep their consumption within the maximum recommended sugar intake after the age of 2, it would take them until they are at least 18 years old to reach this figure.
 5-6 sugar cubes is the daily maximum recommended sugar intake for children aged 4 to 10 years (1 cube of sugar = 4 grams). Children are consuming 52.2 grams per day as per the NDNS.
 National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) 2017/18: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/national-child-measurement-programme/2017-18-school-year