NHS Food Scanner app will use barcodes to suggest healthier eating choices

An updated government app will use barcodes to encourage families to switch to healthier food as part of efforts to tackle Britain’s child obesity crisis. The new feature, announced today (10 January) as part of the Better Health campaign, will scan selected shopping items and suggest alternatives with less saturated fat, sugar or salt. Families using the NHS Food Scanner app will also be shown a “Good Choice” badge for items that could help improve their diet, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

It follows a record rise in obesity among 10- to 11-year-olds, with surveys suggesting that parents have been giving more unhealthy snacks to their children since the start of the pandemic. The latest data suggests one in four children of reception school age are overweight or obese, and this rises to four in 10 in Year 6, according to the DHSC.

Public health minister, Maggie Throup, said that the “pressure” faced by families throughout the pandemic meant dietary habits had “drastically changed” as a result. She added: “The new year is a good time for making resolutions, not just for ourselves, but for our families. Finding ways to improve their health is one of the best resolutions any of us could make.”
Alison Tedstone, the chief nutritionist at the DHSC, said advertisements promoting unhealthy food to children were contributing to the problem. Tedstone said: “It’s so important that children reduce the amount of sugary, fatty and salty foods they eat to help them stay healthy and reduce the risk of health problems such as diabetes and tooth decay.”

Source: The Guardian, 10 January 2022