Tackling obesity and ensuring better health for our children

I have been talking about our children’s nutrition and especially about added sugars in growing up milk for several months. Some moms asked me if I have worried excessively and getting paranoid. I disagree. It is important for us parents to be aware of the hidden dangers in our children’s foods because nowadays there are so many contradicting information we get and we need to discern what is good and what is bad.

How many of us actually source our information from reliable sources. Do we find out what are the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendation for our children? I guess not every parents do that. For example, the WHO recommended that we should keep added sugar intakes to less than 10 per cent of our total calorie intake. So for a 2 to 3 year old that’s really not many calories to put aside for added sugars – only 150 kcal or less than 7 teaspoons per day maximum.

Based on this number, we have to look closely and carefully at what added into our children’s growing up milk and other foods we give our children. Look for foods and beverages labelled “no added sugars” or “less sugars” or “sugar free”. It is also good to be aware of claims about specific types of added sugars such as glucose syrup and corn syrup solids– e.g. a product claiming “no added sucrose” or “sucrose free” could still contain other types of added sugars.

Youtube has a lot of videos explaining by health professional which explains the dangers of hidden sugars in our children’s nutrition. Parents will benefit from learning about this because these videos are good educational resources. I found two series shown in clinics and also available on Youtube and wish to share them here.

One of the series is by Dr. John Monro. According to the video, children’s milk has a natural sugar level (lactose) of 11g-12g per serve. Anything above this can be considered added sugars. It teaches parents on how to look on the ingredient list for added sugar ingredients.

I had shared in my previous blog post some videos by Professor Peter Davies. He talked about WHO recommended intake and how extra added sugars can increase the risk of obesity, hypertension and heart diseases. Take a look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBw6rlMiOT4 and you can also find more links to other topics on the sidebar on Youtube.

Even the Ministry of Health (MOH) have provided public awareness and community messages to educate the public. I saw this MOH ad in the Star newspaper last week telling us to be more aware of hidden added sugars with names like corn syrup solids, sucrose and glucose syrup solids. People are now more aware that all these are types added sugars. We need to look out for them – even in our kids growing up milk.

The MOH ad also said that the claim on labels ‘no sucrose’ does not necessarily mean ‘no added sugars’ because there are other forms of added sugars with other fanciful names. So, moms have to be very careful and check and double check labels to make sure that the growing up milk you are feeding your children is really a true no added sugars growing up milk.

After all these educational videos with reminders from our MOH and the potential dangers we are putting our kids through, don’t you agree that it is good for us parents to be more aware and careful?