GP and TV presenter Dr Dawn Harper has launched a new campaign to encourage parents to give their children nuts as a snack.
Dr Dawn Harper wants to help change the perceptions that nuts are too salty and unhealthy for children as a snack to an attempt to improve the health of young people in the UK.
A study conducted with a thousand parents (with children of primary school age) found that 30 per cent of parents think that nuts provide their children with too much salt. However, a 2017 survey found that 92 per cent of parents give their children crisps at least once a week. Crisps have 64 per cent more salt than an equivalent bag of plain almonds.
On average, children in the UK snack on over 1.4 billion bags of crisps a year. This amounts to 657 tonnes of salt per year.
The survey also found that nearly 20 per cent of parents are worried about their children developing allergies to nuts and therefore avoid them.
Additionally, 14 per cent of parents are unaware of the high nutritional value of nuts and their contribution to a healthy balanced diet.
Dr Dawn Harper said: “Despite the fact almost a quarter of parents say they give their children a snack as a way of getting extra nutrients into their diet, they also reveal that they prefer to give their child sugary and salty snacks like crisps and cereal bars than nuts as a snack.
“We want to change that. Nuts are a great, tasty way of getting good fats, and key vitamins and minerals into the diet which can help children’s growth, development and cognitive function.”
A spokesperson for the BDA said: “Obesity and salt intake are really important issues we are facing as a society, so it’s alarming to see that many healthy foods such as nuts aren’t getting the air time they need to ensure parents are aware of the benefits they can have for their children.
“While it’s absolutely important to ensure nuts are unsalted and are small, or halved to avoid choking, primary aged children would benefit massively from adding more unsalted nuts, and less crisps, sweets and chocolate to their diets.”