By Kate Pickles Health Correspondent For The Daily Mail
Published: 23:30 BST, 4 April 2019 | Updated: 23:33 BST, 4 April 2019
Nearly half of foods and drinks marketed at UK children are less healthy than they claim, a study found.
Health and nutrition messages on fruit-based snacks, juices, yoghurts, cereals and ready meals are ‘confusing’ or misleading parents.
Three quarters of those which claimed to contain ‘one of five a day’ fruit and vegetables did not contain the recommended portion size of 80g.
Nearly a quarter of the products – most of which were fruit-based drinks and snacks, made ‘no added sugars’ claims.
But half had concentrated juice or fruit puree as the added ingredients – which are now classed as ‘free sugars’.
British parents may be confused by claims of 'no added sugar' or 'one of your five-a-day' which researchers found to be exaggerated in 41 per cent of products (stock image)
Experts warned a ‘health halo effect’ was creating a false impression of some foods which could be fuelling the childhood obesity crisis.
Researchers from Glasgow University found that of 332 products tested from supermarkets, 41 per cent were less healthy than they claimed.
They studied products marketed at children using cartoons, toys and promotions as well as those which made health claims such as being one of your five-a-day.
Cereal bars had the highest energy and saturated fat content, while cereals contained the most salt.
Nutritional profiling tests found a large proportion of yogurts were less healthy than claimed because of their high saturated fat and low fibre content.
English children are fatter than ever – official data revealed in October that one in every 25 10 to 11-year-olds are severely obese, the fattest possible category.
And out of around 556,000 children of primary school-leaving age in the UK, 170,000 are overweight to some degree, figures showed in May.
More than one in ever five 11-year-olds are obese – equivalent to around 111,000 children – and being so fat means they are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer or have a stroke.
The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health say children should be weighed