New NHS food scanning app will allow parents to scan barcodes at their children’s snacks and look for healthier alternatives
- The NHS food scanner application allows users to exchange snacks for those with a lower sugar and fat content
- The London family was advised to have a thin and crunchy pizza instead of a deep dish
- In the application test, they were also recommended a fruit loaf instead of a cake stick
The NHS app will allow parents to scan barcodes at their children’s snacks and suggest healthier options.
The NHS Food Scanner application, which previously only showed the nutritional content of the products, has been updated to allow users to exchange snacks for those with a lower sugar, salt and saturated fat content.
Tested with one family in London, the app recommended a thin and crunchy pizza instead of deep, sugar-free lemonade as a replacement for the normal version and a lighter pasta sauce replacement.
Instead of a chocolate cake bar, a fruit loaf came as an alternative, while instead of yogurt with chocolate balls, yogurt with a lower sugar content was recommended.
Five substitute products have been found to reduce sugar intake in seven-year-old Gloria Denovagiene and brother Arl (four) by the equivalent of 40 sugar cubes a week. Their salt intake was reduced by the equivalent of 15 sachets and saturated fats in the diet by 80 grams.
The NHS Food Scanner application, which previously only showed the nutritional content of the products, has been updated to allow users to exchange snacks for those with a lower sugar, salt and saturated fat content (picture).
The NHS hopes the app, part of the new NHS Better Health campaign and promoted by former Girls singer Aloud Nadine Coyle, will help deal with the record rise in childhood obesity since the pandemic began.
Data from 2019-20 show that 25 per cent of children aged 10 and 11 in England are obese – just over 18 per cent ten years earlier. And a survey of 2,030 parents by Netmums last month found that 58 percent gave their children more sweet or fatty snacks than before the pandemic.
Nearly two-thirds also said they often fear a healthy snack for their children.
Public Health Minister Maggie Throup said at the launch of the application: “We know that families felt a lot of pressure during the pandemic, which drastically changed habits and routines.
“The new year is a good time to make a commitment, not only for us, but for our families as well.”
When the snack is scanned into the application, it provides information on the amount of salt, sugar and saturated fat that the product contains. Each has a traffic light rating similar to that on food packaging, with green meaning the product is low, while orange means it is medium and red means high.
If the snack receives a green rating, parents and children will receive an encouraging message: “Good choice. Great. This is a healthier snack. ”
However, health experts claim that the application can only reach parents who are already trying to give their children healthier snacks, which limits its effectiveness.
Graham MacGregor, a professor of cardiovascular medicine at Queen Mary University in London, said: “To make a real difference and tackle the obesity epidemic across the country, it would be better for the government to take action to get the food industry to reformulate unhealthy foods. reduce their sugar, salt and saturated fat content. “
Speaking at the launch, Public Health Minister Maggie Throup (pictured) said: “We know that families felt a lot of pressure during the pandemic, which drastically changed habits and routines. “The new year is a good time for us to make resolutions, not only for ourselves but also for our families.”