VEGA News Item

NMES Spells Dire Consequences for Scottish Children - 06/05/2008
They Are too Fond of their Sweeties
They Are too Fond of their Sweeties

1. Children in Scotland are eating too much sugar, according to a survey by Food Standards Agency Scotland. The sugar intake of 1,700 Scottish children aged between 3 and 16 years old found that the main sources of sugar in youngsters’ diets were soft drinks, confectionery, biscuits, and cakes (FSA News, April 2008).

2. The Scottish Dietary Target stipulates that less than 10% of the total calories consumed should be Non Milk Extrinsic Sugars (NMES), which are sugars added to food and drink, table sugar, and those present in fruit juices. Among the findings were:

  • Average NMES consumption at 17.4% of calorie intake had risen over the decade from 16.7% (the Scottish Dietary Target is 10%)

  • NMES intakes were higher in older children

  • Intakes were higher in those living in less affluent areas, where more high sugar foods such as soft drinks were consumed

  • The results suggested that NMES intake was higher in children who had been treated for dental decay

  • There was no evidence in average consumption between children who were overweight and those who were not. This could be due to the youngsters eating less at the time of the study or under-reporting what they ate

3. Cooperation with other organizations was called for and Shona Robinson, Minister for Public Health in Scotland, committed the Government to policies to encourage youngsters to make healthier choices, which would include introducing standards for healthier meals in schools. “Longterm change to improve diet requires support from many areas, including parents, the public and the private sector”, Shona Robinson said.  

Registered Charity No. 1045293
© VEGA - 2008