Packet-a-day crisp warningHealth campaigners warn of dangers to kids

22 September 2006

health drinking oil

Eating a packet of crisps a day is the equivalent of drinking almost five litres of cooking oil every year, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has warned.

It comes after a BHF survey of 8-15 year olds showed half of children admit to eating at least a pack of crisps a day. And almost one in five eat crisps twice a day or more.

The findings have been released as the BHF launches the second phase of its Food4Thought campaign today.

The campaign aims to expose the amounts of hidden salt, fat and sugar that lurk within many common snacks, takeaways and ready meals.

Cooking oil

It'll be supported by an advertising campaign featuring a young girl drinking from a bottle of cooking oil, with the caption 'What goes into crisps goes into you.'

The BHF says that in a typical 35g bag of crisps there are about two-and-a-half teaspoons of oil. In a larger 50g pack this goes up to three-and-a-half teaspoons.

Professor Peter Weissberg, BHF Medical Director, said the implications for kids' health were very worrying: 'The BHF believes that having a daily dose of such a high-fat, nutritionally poor product is a threat to children's long-term health.

'Daily unhealthy snacking is a worrying habit. Rising rates of childhood obesity and cases of type 2 diabetes paint a particularly grim picture for the future.

'The BHF wants to expose the truth lurking within these foods and to help children and parents make healthier choices.'

Scare tactics

But industry body the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) described the BHF campaign as 'scare tactics'.

FDF Communications Director Julian Hunt said: 'We welcome anything that raises the debate about diet, but scare tactics are a waste of time.

'One of the great things about our industry is that we strive to give consumers genuine choice, whether it is a better for you version or a completely reformulated standard product.'

As part of Food4Thought campaign student action packs will be delivered to 400,000 children as the campaign kicks off in schools later this year.

Children, teachers and parents are being urged to visit the online site to find out more about the Food4Thought campaign.

Earlier this year it was revealed the number of obese children aged 11 to 15 has nearly doubled in a decade.

Responsible marketing

Which? wants a complete ban on junk food ads during the hours that children are watching TV.

Our Childcatchers report exposes how marketing companies use mobile phones and the internet to bombard youngsters with junk food adverts behind parents' backs.

Which? is calling on parents to help stop irresponsible marketing by joining our Kids' food campaign and telling us their views and experiences via our website.