Concerned that eating sweets will add two or three kilograms of weight to the average child during the two-month school vacation, the Israel Pediatric Association called on the Health and Education ministries to launch a public information campaign on the dangers of sugar.
“A red light is blinking,” association chairman Prof. Shai Ashkenazi and director Dr. Tzahi Grossman said in a letter to the two ministers.
The pediatricians compared the dangers of sugar consumption with road accidents. “We need a national effort that is no less important than a battle against car accidents. Both are a danger to life and threaten to harm the population of the whole country in the future,” they wrote.
The letter came after a Health Ministry survey on nutritional habits of 5,000 pupils aged 12 to 18 showed that 100% regularly eat candy, and 95% routinely drink sweetened beverages.
Researchers found that 11% of the students’ daily diet came from sweets. Israel is the world’s top per-capita consumer of sweets, according to the OECD.
“Just as we fought with you to wipe out polio,” the association said, we see the need to fight overweight and obesity among youngsters.