Change4Life tackles childhood obesity with new app

Change4Life is kicking off its annual January campaign with the aim of raising awareness of how much sugar, salt and unsaturated fats are in food and drink products.


Change4Life, Public Health England’s (PHE) brand aimed at children, has introduced an app as part of its ‘Be Food Smart’ campaign to raise awareness of the health problems linked to eating too much sugar, salt and saturated fats.

The app allows people to scan barcodes on food and drink products to see how much sugar, salt and saturated fat each contains. The app provides hints and tips on healthy eating and activities for children and families and urges consumers to be food smart and take control of their children’s diets.

The app comes as part of a PHE campaign that will launch today (3 January) on TV, digital and through outdoor. It comes as a direct response to recent PHE findings that highlight how children eat half of their sugar allowance at breakfast and have consumed three times the healthy limit by the end of the day.

The campaign will distribute 4.6 million free Be Food Smart packs to primary school aged children and families at local events across England. And it follows the government’s childhood obesity strategy set for April 2018, which means brands will be faced with sugar tax and targets to cut 20% of sugar out of their products by 2020.


The British Dietetic Association (BDA) supports the campaign with its spokesperson, Aisling Piggott, saying the new smartphone is useful and will have “real appeal for kids”.

READ MORE: How Public Health England hopes to get people to ‘take action’ to cut sugar

“The Be Food Smart app is really useful; mixing accurate information with interactive activities. The mini missions and challenges, plus the capacity to share on social media, will have real appeal for kids and fits with current evidence about what motivates children. It’s great to see a modern initiative like this designed to support families to lead healthier lifestyles,” she comments.

The campaign follows previous Change4Life campaigns including its 10 Minute Shake Up campaign with Disney, where it encouraged school children to get active by joining one of four Disney teams – Frozen, Toy Story, Monsters and Big Hero 6 in interactive PE lessons.

PHE also released a One You campaign in December, aimed at helping middle aged people live more healthily by asking ‘How are you?’, after PHE found eight out of 10 of the middle aged either weigh too much, drink too much or don’t exercise enough. The campaign includes a quiz that takes lifestyle information before giving participants a health score. It also includes links to free localised, personalised information, apps and tools. It has linked users, where appropriate, to to other apps including couch to 5K, which aims to get people who have never run before to complete 5k.

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