Worry over Swedish children’s sugar intake

Swedish children are consuming sugar at incredible rates, according to a new survey. The international image of the healthy Scandinavian lifestyle has been dealt a blow after the country’s National Food Administration said in a report released on Wednesday nearly 25 percent of the calories consumed by children come from soda, ice cream and other sugary snacks.

The report, which focused on 2,500 4, 8 and 11-year-old kids, said those who took part in the survey by keeping daily journals ate only half the amount of fruits and vegetables recommended, with only 10 percent eating the correct amount of 400 grams per day.

“For the most part, we can say the intake of fat, sugar and salt was too great, while the consumption of fiber was too little,” said Heléne Enghardt Barbieri, the nutritionist responsible for the study.

The study said kids drink an average of 200 millilitres of sugary fruit drink and soda daily. Also, children scarf down 150 grams of candy each week. Some 25 percent of kids drink 400 millilitres of soda weekly and eat more than 300 grams of candy.

“The investigation strengthens the ultimate need for strong support from society to promote good food eating habits with children and to stop obesity,” said Inger Andersson, the Administration’s general director.

School minister Ibrahim Baylan, a Social Democrat, said last week that he wants candy and soda banned in Swedish schools.

“Schools should be a sweets-and-soda-free zone, and it should take place at all grade levels, both in primary school and high school,” said Baylan.