App aims to help families make healthier food choices

New figures have revealed a growing number of obese children in the Portsmouth area
New figures have revealed a growing number of obese children in the Portsmouth area

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FAMILIES are being encouraged to use a mobile app to make healthier choices while shopping.

Created by Public Health England and its Change4Life campaign, the app allows parents to see how much sugar, saturated fat and salt is in a product.

New app aims to help families make healthier choices when food shopping

New app aims to help families make healthier choices when food shopping

Called Be Food Smart, parents can scan barcodes of any food and it uses a traffic light system to show the levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat.

Jeremy Speed, health and wellbeing programme manager for Public Health England south east, said the idea was about encouraging parents to be involved in what their children are eating.

‘We don’t want to tell families they have to stop eating certain foods,’ he said.

‘We want to simply show what is in the products so they can eat them in moderation.

‘For some of them, children are eating their daily sugar allowance before they go to school.’

Newly-released figures from NHS Digital shows the number of primary school children who are overweight or obese has increased in the past 12 months in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.

Obesity and improving how much physical activity families do is something the director of public health for Portsmouth wants to see improved.

When first appointed in May last year, Dr Jason Horsley said physical inactivity was the second biggest issue in the city behind smoking.

‘Rather than obesity, it’s people who aren’t getting much physical activity at all,’ he said.

‘We know that has a real effect on health and wellbeing.

‘To improve this, we have been speaking to the transport and planning teams at Portsmouth City Council to see how we can promote active transport like walking and cycling.

‘There is no major place on Portsea Island that you cannot get to within 15 minutes of walking and cycling.

‘Linked to that, is what we are putting into our bodies.

‘It is about ensuring we eat healthy and we have the environments surrounding us to enable us to have a good diet.’