Healthy eating and good dental health should be childsplay says BSPD

Image representing Healthy eating and good dental health should be childsplay says BSPD

The insidious impact of ‘sports’ drinks and unhealthy snacking on children’s dental health has been highlighted in a new report launched today (Wednesday 14th October) at the House of Commons by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on a Fit and Healthy Childhood.

This is the 4th report from a working party dedicated to childhood wellbeing and its topic is Play. The right to engage in play is enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child but, the report says, this is being compromised by sedentary lifestyles and poor diets. Around 20% of children are obese by the time they get to school.

Paediatric dental consultant Urshla Devalia, a member of The British Society of Paediatric Dentistry’s executive committee, is on the working group and has ensured that dental health features alongside obesity as a major health concern.

 “Combining play with nutritious foods makes sense but unfortunately, the wrong kinds of food and drink are being advertised at sporting activities. One of our key recommendations is for research to be undertaken into drink promotion alongside children’s activity and play programmes.”

She continued: “Healthy foods, such as milk, fruit and vegetables are being replaced by so-called ‘sports’ drinks, fruit juices, cakes, sweets and biscuits. Some energy drinks contain as much as twenty teaspoons of sugar and contribute to both obesity and dental decay.”

“Another of our recommendations is to develop a ‘combined’ approach to play and nutrition starting with some pilot schemes. But families need more support and education on food labelling, which continues to be confusing.”

BSPD’s media spokesperson Claire Stevens commented: “We are delighted to be involved with the working group and that oral health is being considered in the context of overall health.  We continue to support a tax on sugary drinks and we await Public Health England’s report on options to reduce sugar intake with interest.”

Posted by Gemma

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