Schools Holidays See Surge in Children’s Sugar Consumption 

school holidays sugar

A survey of 1,000 British parents has found that children eat up to five times as much sugar during the summer holidays than they do at other times of the year.

During the holidays children have more ice cream and sugary drinks, and less vegetables, according to the poll by a dentistry company. 

Childhood obesity

The poll comes as data show that there is a record number of children leaving primary school severely obese – in 2016/17, one in 25 children aged 10–11 were classed as severely obese. 

The Government has recently announced new measures to try and prevent obesity in children, including banning sweets and high-fat snacks from supermarket checkouts, and tighter restrictions on junk food ads being shown on TV when children may be watching.

More sweets

The survey by mydentist asked 1,000 parents of children aged two to 17 about their child’s eating habits during the six-week summer holiday. 

One quarter of the 1,000 parents asked said their child eats far more sweets over the summer holidays than they normally would do during term time or other holidays. 

Eight in 10 parents said they were concerned about their child eating too much sugar during the holidays. Just one in 10 parents surveyed said their child eats more vegetables over the holidays.

Tooth decay

The increase in sugar consumption raises concerns about tooth decay, with 40% of parents saying they sometimes forget to check whether their child has brushed their teeth of not. A fifth of parents said they think their child’s tooth care declines during the holidays due to a lack of routine.


Obesity campaigns have focused on preventing childhood obesity, as being obese as a child increases the chances of someone being overweight when they become adults.

The Obesity Health Alliance has urgent action in 10 areas to tackle the issue, including protecting children from all junk food marketing, all schools serving healthy meals and teaching children how to cook, and funding for child weight management programmes.

Sugar tax

A levy on sugary drinks – the ‘Sugar Tax’ – was introduced in April this year. The tax on soft drinks manufacturers who don’t reformulate their drinks has resulted in 50% of manufacturers reducing the sugar content of their drinks.

This article was written by a third party source and does not reflect the views or opinions of Ramsay Health Care unless explicitly stated.

Additional comments on the page from individual Consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other Consultants or Ramsay Health Care.

Related stories:

Healthy Mothers Less Likely to Have Obese Children 
Half of all fizzy drinks contain more sugar than daily allowance 

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