We all love to treat ourselves to an Easter egg this time of year, but experts are reminding the public of the worryingly high sugar content in the average Easter egg.
This Easter, Irish children will eat their way through at least five million Easter eggs over the forthcoming holiday – lumping an extra 460 tonnes of sugar into our young people’s diets over a period of a few days, a survey for the Irish Heart Foundation has found.
The poll of parents carried out by Empathy Research found that children here will polish off an average of four eggs over the Easter period, with almost one in five receiving six eggs or more. Just one medium sized Easter egg contains some 23 teaspoons of sugar, which is almost four times a child’s recommended daily intake.
“Easter eggs are a traditional treat and nobody is saying children shouldn’t get them,” said Janis Morrissey, Head of Health Promotion with the Irish Heart Foundation. “The problem is overconsumption.”
“All this is happening in the midst of a child obesity crisis where children as young as eight are presenting with high blood pressure and young people showing early signs of heart disease once only seen in middle-aged men,” she stressed.
A total of 76 percent of parents surveyed said that offering discounts on Easter eggs encouraged people to over-buy, whilst 70 percent said retailers shouldn’t stock Easter eggs until much closer to Easter to lessen the pressure on parents.
Also, the survey found that whilst 44 percent of the Easter eggs will be bought by parents, 56 percent will be purchased by friends and other family members, such as aunts, uncles and grandparents.
The Irish Heart Foundation is campaigning for regulations to prevent all junk food marketing directed at children. Its Stop Targeting Kids campaign is seeking public support through a petition at www.irishheart.ie/stoptargetingkids which calls for action by the Government to regulate digital marketing aimed at Irish children and to close loopholes in broadcast restrictions which mean that children still see over 1,000 junk food and drinks ads on television every year.