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Children eat 140 chocolate bars, 105 tubes of sweets, 36 packets of biscuits and 118 bags of crisps a year

Safefood estimates that 20% of a child’s calorific intake has little or no nutritional value.

Image: Choices via

AROUND 20% OF the food eaten by children has little or no nutritional value, it has been claimed.

Safefood, the government healthy eating and food safety body, says that parents should tell their children “no” more often to help tackle childhood obesity.

Safefood says that many children are eating sweets, crisps and biscuits every day.

It is estimated that on average, a child typically consumes over 16 kilos of treat foods per year – the equivalent of 140 small chocolate bars, 105 tubes of sweets, 36 packets of jam filled biscuits and 118 bags of crisps.

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar said that instilling a healthy attitude into children when they’re young is important.

“This campaign shows how easy it is to make a real difference to children’s health, by replacing sweets, biscuits and crisps with tasty and healthy alternatives.

“If you’re healthy when you’re young, you’re more likely to be healthy for life. We know that parents are concerned, and we are all worried about the impact of bad diets, lack of exercise and overweight on children’s health. One in four schoolchildren is overweight or obese.”

Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan of Safefood said that parents needed to be more aware of what they were feeding their children.

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“We are giving our children treat foods every day and in many cases, several times a day. These nutritionally poor foods, which are often referred to as ‘empty calories’, are given at the expense of nutritionally rich foods in our children’s diets.

“Parents need to be aware of the health risks associated with over-consumption of these types of foods. It’s simply a matter of cutting down on treat foods to a more sensible level, basically, much smaller amounts and not every day.”

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