The government’s New Better Health campaign which includes a new NHS Food Scanner app offering healthier alternatives has launched to help parents improve their children’s diet.
The multimedia campaign has been developed following a record rise in obesity among children since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with latest data highlighting that one in four children of reception school age and more than 40% of children aged 10 to 11 are overweight or obese.
Evidence shows that families purchased food more during lockdowns and this remained above normal levels even once lockdowns ended.
The Better Health campaign encourages families to eat better and includes a new ‘scan, swipe and swap’ feature for the NHS Food Scanner App, which provides a simple solution to help families maintain a healthier diet.
Families can scan the product barcodes from their shop and the app will suggest healthier alternatives to help them make an easy swap next time they shop.
Maggie Throup, Public Health Minister, said:
“We know that families have felt a lot of pressure throughout the pandemic which has drastically changed habits and routines.
“The new year is a good time for making resolutions, not just for ourselves, but for our families. Finding ways to improve their health is one of the best resolutions any of us could make.”
Dr Alison Tedstone, Chief Nutritionist at the Department of Health and Social Care, said:
“We are all aware of the increased pressures families have been under throughout the pandemic with children being stuck at home more. With advertising promoting unhealthy foods to kids, it’s not surprising that parents say they’ve often found it hard to resist pestering from their children for more unhealthy snacks, and that is why the NHS Food Scanner App is a great tool to help families make quick and easy healthier swaps.
“It’s so important that children reduce the amount of sugary, fatty and salty foods they eat to help them stay healthy and reduce the risk of health problems such as diabetes and tooth decay.
‘Girls Aloud’ member Nadine Coyle is backing the campaign. She said:
“As a busy working mum, I find it hard to say no to my kid’s demands and often give in to ‘snack’ pressure – even though I know it’s not that good for them. I had no idea some foods were so high in sugar, saturated fat and salt – so it’s great that the app gives you alternatives.
“I love using the NHS Food Scanner App and so does my daughter; she likes choosing the healthier swaps which is great – we are already making small changes through good food choices.”