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‚ÄčMerton CCG and Merton Council urge parents to bin the sugary snacks 

Merton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is calling on parents to 'look for 100 calorie snacks, and only two a day max' to tackle the challenge of helping more children reach and maintain a healthy weight.

To support a national Change4Life campaign, parents in Merton are being urged to switch to healthier snacks as a good way to reduce the amount of sugar their children consume.

According to Public Health England, children eat nearly three times more than the recommended amount of sugar, putting their health at risk. The campaign to switch to healthier snacks focuses attention on the fact that half the sugar that children consume comes from snacks and sugary drinks.

In Merton, an estimated 4,500 children aged between four and 11 are overweight or obese. One in five pupils entering Reception Year is overweight or obese and this increases to one in three leaving primary school in Year 6.

During January parents in Merton will be able to visit the Change4Life website to receive money off vouchers for healthier snacks and helpful tips on how to bin those sugary snacks.

They can also visit their local public health website  for information on how to get started with exercise and other healthier lifestyle changes as well as how to get help from weight control services in Merton.

Councillor Tobin Byers, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: "Tackling childhood obesity is a priority, and I would urge all parents to use this campaign as their reason to make a healthy swap and to make healthy snacks a lifestyle change for their children.   Merton is a great place for families and we are committed to doing all we can to ensure children have a happy and healthy start in life."

Chair of Merton CCG and local GP Dr Andrew Murray welcomed the campaign and said: "It is vital we all work together to improve children's health and simple steps like this will make a long-term difference. Reducing obesity levels will save lives as the condition doubles the risk of dying prematurely. The causes of obesity are complex and we will continue to work with our communities and partners to make long-term sustainable change."