VISITORS to Lakeside on Saturday (10 January) received a sweet message when they visited the Change4Life roadshow in the central atrium.
The national Change4Life Sugar Swaps roadshow was at the centre where it was joined by members of Thurrock Council’s public health team – and the council’s health portfolio holder, Cllr Barbara Rice.
She said: “It was brilliant. The two teams worked really well together with the Thurrock staff targeting local people and the national people looking after all the others.
“I think the sugar swap idea is an excellent one, highlighting the high levels of sugar that families consume every day, and offering parents practical advice on how to cut sugar consumption by making one or more simple swaps.
“Eating and drinking too much sugar means extra calories, which causes fat to build up leading to heart disease, some cancers or type 2 diabetes later in life.
“While I was there I was told that nationally around one in five children aged four to five and one in three children aged ten to 11 is overweight or obese.
“Yet locally it’s worse! In reception classes over a fifth of children are overweight or obese, yet by the time they are in Year 6, it’s 38Â½ per cent, nearly two fifths!
“But it’s not just the kids. Obesity is a problem throughout the population and everybody needs to swap out their sugar intake.”
The Thurrock team took the opportunity to sign up local people to weight management classes which target young people and concentrate on nutrition and how losing weight and eating more healthily can improve self-esteem.
Cllr Rice said: “One of the great things at the roadshow was chef Paul Da Costa Greaves who demonstrated how easy it is to eat healthily. His recipes for cooking from scraps was not only healthy, but affordable too And that’s the important point.
“People need to understand that a healthy diet need not be expensive and need not take ages to cook.”
Change4Life recommends four simple Sugar Swaps for people to choose from – tackling different ‘sugar occasions’ in the day such as the Breakfast Swap, not eating sugary cereal, but having plain wholewheat biscuit cereal instead; the Drink Swap, changing from sugary drinks to sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks; the After School Swap, having fruited teacake instead of muffins, for example; and the Pudding Swap, changing from ice cream to low-fat lower-sugar yoghurt.
The Thurrock Change4Life team can be contacted by calling 01375 898100 or contact can be made through people’s health visitor, GP, or school nurse.