New teaching resources helping students cut back on sugar

New Change4Life teaching resources have been designed to help reduce the amount of sugar being consumed by primary school children. The resources will support teachers to use English and maths lessons to help children cut back on sugar – whilst learning vital skills

This initiative 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 intake has 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 approach will complement the national campaign encouraging parents to ‘Make a swap when you next shop’, to help families enjoy healthier versions of the food 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 and include important problem-solving skills which involve addition, subtraction, division and multiplication skills.

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Through these 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!

“Change4Life helps children realise just how much sugar is in everyday foods and drinks,” Jon Moorhouse, deputy headteacher at St Saviour CE Primary School, Bolton, says. “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.”

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-to-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.

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