You may be surprised to find out that this is a big possibility...
It’s undeniable — kids just love sugar. And while you might try your best to control your child’s daily sugar intake, sometimes you give in, thinking, “it’s just once in a while” or “kids will be kids.”
Yet, the effects of sugar on kids are dire – probably more than you ever imagined — and have been pointed out by authorities in health such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Promotion Board of Singapore (HPB).
Kids and sugar: What do the experts say?
In a nutshell: the two are not a very good combination, both in terms of short- and long-term health.
When a child eats too much food that is high in sugar (e.g. junk food), his body digests this food quite fast. Since this type of food contains very few nutrients, the child’s body is forced to use the sugar it contains as energy.
This energy leads to a temporary “sugar high” — a false feeling of energy — that is soon followed by a “sugar crash”, or high fatigue. This, in turn results in the loss of focus and concentration in the child.
A high-sugar diet can also result in obesity among children. It puts them at a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol — all of which are major contributors to heart disease.
The danger comes from both sugar eaten separately as well as added sugar (for example, sucrose) in popular food items such as some breakfast cereals, smoothies and biscuits.
Added sugar does absolutely nothing positive for your child’s health and can be considered more dangerous than sugar eaten separately, because it is often ‘hidden’ in other foods.
It is merely empty calories (no nutrients beyond calories) and only puts your child at risk of chronic health problems such as those described above.
In addition, too much sugar in a child’s diet is also the leading cause of tooth decay, say medical researchers.
Singapore takes sugar seriously
In Singapore, health authorities are taking the health consequences of too much sugar very seriously.
“We need to tackle the diabetes challenge. Therefore, I am declaring war on diabetes,” said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong earlier in April 2016, in announcing the establishment of a new Diabetes Prevention and Care Taskforce.
This comes on the back of the growing problem of diabetes in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). The ministry revealed that in 2014, around 440,000 residents aged 18 years and above had diabetes.
That same year, half of all heart attack cases had diabetes; two in three new kidney failure cases were due to diabetes; and two in five stroke cases had diabetes.
Keeping these facts in mind, how are Singaporean children doing when it comes to their daily sugar intake? You’ll be surprised to find out.
Continue to the next page to find out just how much sugar the average Singaporean 10-year-old is eating daily.