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Study reveals thousands of UK children in grave danger

Uncontrolled consumption of sugar has put thousands of UK children at health risk, a recent survey reveals

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Uncontrolled consumption of sugar has put thousands of UK children at health risk, a recent survey reveals.

The study shows that children in UK have consumed more than a year’s worth of sugar in less than six months, public health figures showed.

While four-to-ten-year-olds should not have more than the equivalent of five to six sugar cubes per day, they are consuming 13 on average, according to data from the latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey.

This means children will have around 4,760 cubes of sugar by the end of the year — more than double the maximum recommendation.

Too much sugar is blamed for high obesity rates in children and dental decay.

The British Department for Health agency is urging parents to try to cut back on sugary drinks, cakes and biscuits.

“We’re barely halfway through the year and already children have consumed far more sugar than is healthy — it’s no surprise this is contributing to an obesity crisis,” said Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE.

“Snacks and drinks are adding unnecessary sugar to children’s diets without us even noticing,” Tedstone said.
“Swapping to lower- or no-added-sugar alternatives is something all parents can work towards.”

In spite of the publicity around the sugar levy, which began in April, sugary drinks such as colas, lemonades and juices are still one of the biggest sources of sugar in children’s diets.

They account for 10 per cent of sugar consumed by children, as do buns, cakes, pastries and fruit pies.

Biscuits are almost as big a problem, making up nine per cent of children’s intake, with spreads, jams and table sugar also contributing nine per cent.

Other big sources of sugar include breakfast cereals (eight per cent), chocolate confectionery (seven per cent), and yoghurts, fromage frais and other dairy desserts (six per cent).

Fruit juice and smoothies can count as one of the five fruits and vegetables everybody is encouraged to eat per day, but they contain a lot of natural sugar.

PHE said that one serving a day of no more than 150 ml is enough, which should be drunk with a meal not as a snack.

PHE suggests parents should swap their children’s sugary drinks for water, lower fat plain milks, sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks.

It also offered ideas on its Change4Life website. It said that lower sugar snacks include fruit, plain rice cakes, toast, fruit teacakes, malted loaf or bagels with lower-fat spread.

The Obesity Health Alliance said PHE’s figures were alarming.

“These startling figures highlight the need for further robust action from government in their upcoming second edition of the Childhood Obesity Plan.

“A package of measures including restrictions on the advertising of junk food to children, action on price promotions on unhealthy products and clearer food labelling will help parents to make healthy choices and ensure their children have the healthiest possible start in life,” said its lead, Caroline Cerny.

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Musings From Abroad

World Bank supports Kenyan central bank’s interest rate hike

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The World Bank has noted that the decision of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) to raise interest rates, and the partial payment of its Eurobond have contributed to the recent stability of the Kenyan Shilling.

 

Bank of Kenya’s (CBK) Monetary Policy Committee raised the policy rate by 50 basis points to 13.00% at its first meeting of 2024 on February 6, 2024. The policy rate then rose to its highest level in more than ten years. It was a big surprise to most market experts that the rate went up after being raised by 200 basis points in December.

 

The Central Bank Rate (CBR) was raised twice in a row by CBK in December and February, bringing it up from 10.5% to 13%. The main goal was to support the shilling by getting foreign investors to put their money into local investments like government bonds.

 

 

The international lender says that the Central Bank of Kenya’s move to raise the benchmark lending rate has helped protect the local currency. They also say that the demand for shilling has grown because Eurobond notes that mature in June are being partially repaid.

 

So far this year, the shilling has gained the most value compared to other currencies in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Zambian Kwacha has also gained some value, but not as much.

 

“The Kenyan shilling is the best-performing currency in the sub-continent, and it recorded an appreciation of 16% so far this year. After strengthening by 14% in mid-February, the Zambian Kwacha has lost some ground and recorded a year-to-date appreciation of 2.4% as of mid-March. In both cases, the monetary authority hiked interest rates to defend their currencies,” the World Bank notes in a new regional outlook report.

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Musings From Abroad

WHO says Nigeria is the first country to use new meningitis vaccine

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The World Health Organization (WHO) says that Nigeria is the first country in the world to give out the “revolutionary” new vaccine— Men5CV.

Nigeria is one of the places in Africa where the sickness is doing the most damage. The WHO says that the number of yearly cases rose by 50% in 26 African countries that are considered to have a high risk of meningitis.

Nigeria reported 1686 possible cases of meningitis between October 1, 2022, and April 16, 2023. Of these, 124 people died, giving the country a case fatality rate (CFR) of 7%.

Meningitis is a very bad illness of the meninges, which are the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord. It is a terrible disease that poses a big threat to public health.

“Nigeria’s rollout brings us one step closer to our goal to eliminate meningitis by 2030,” Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, was quoted as saying in a statement.

The WHO says that from October of last year to the middle of March of this year, there were 1,742 probable cases and 153 deaths in seven states in Nigeria.

The WHO said that the new vaccine will protect against all five major types of the disease that are common in Nigeria. This is different from the first vaccine, which only protected against one strain.

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