Kent supports World Health Day

Health experts in Kent are reminding parents to sign up and become Sugar Smart as World Health Day (7 April) gets set to focus on diabetes.

Figures show that 6.22 per cent of the Kent population has diabetes compared to the England average of 6.37 per cent.* Nationally, there are now 2.5 million people suffering from Type 2 diabetes (approximately 68,000 in Kent), 90% of whom are overweight or obese.[i],[ii]

In Kent, 22.5% of four to five-year-olds are overweight or obese, increasing to 33% in 10 to 11-year-olds. This means they are more likely to become obese adults who are more prone to a range of serious health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes.

Dr Manpinder Singh Sahota, a GP from Gravesend and Diabetic lead for Dartford, Gravesend and Swanley CCG, said: “The fight against the dangers of excess sugar has only just begun. If we are to save our children from developing type 2 diabetes and all the horrible complications, we must keep on raising awareness of how much sugar some foods contain and what damage it is doing to our bodies.”

Kent parents are being encouraged to get ‘Sugar Smart’ and take control of their children’s sugar intake with the Change4Life campaign which found four-to-10 year olds consume an estimated 5,500 sugar cubes a year (22kg), weighing the same as an average five-year-old.

KCC Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said: “Diabetes runs alongside obesity as a growing issue for Kent and across the UK. Figures highlight the importance for families to cut back on sugar in the diet as it is lurking in everyday food and drink, taking children well over the maximum recommended amount.  We’re encouraging parents across Kent to take up a healthier lifestyle – particularly increasing physical activity – and taking control of their family’s eating habits, including the amount of sugar they consume, to protect them from the potential health risks.”

Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) selects a priority area of global public health concern as the theme for World Health Day, which falls on 7 April, the organisation’s birthday.

The theme for World Health Day 2016 will be diabetes, a noncommunicable disease (NCD) directly impacting millions of people of globally, mostly in low- and middle-income countries.

The Change4Life campaign has also created an eye-opening short film, which warns parents about the health harms of eating and drinking too much sugar, including becoming overweight and tooth decay. The film brings to life the excessive amount of sugar consumed by the average child per year; currently three times more than the new maximum recommended daily amount.

The Sugar Smart app helps parents to see how much sugar there is in everyday food and drink by scanning the barcode of products and revealing the amount of total sugar it contains in cubes and grams.

Dr Sahota added: “The sugar smart campaign has been a real success and raised awareness of the high sugar content in many processed foods. Children love the sugar app and in a playful way, it educates them about the dangers of too much sugar.”

Download the Change4Life Sugar Smart app to find out how much sugar is in the food and drink your family consumes every day and search ‘Change4Life’ for lots of free support, tips, ideas and recipes

You can also find information about the healthy weight and lifestyle programmes available in Kent at



Notes to Editors

For further information about the Change4Life Sugar Smart campaign, please contact / out of hours 0208 200 4400.

*Figures for 2014/15 from the Kent and Medway Public Health Observatory.

[i] Diabetes UK. Number diagnosed with diabetes rises. Available at:

[Accessed December 2015]

[ii] Public Health England. Adult obesity and type 2 diabetes. Available at: [Accessed December 2015]

Kent supports World Health Day was last modified: April 6th, 2016 by Gemma Smith