Leeds-based national charity Heart Research UK has welcomed a move by supermarket giants Tesco to offer free fruit to children while their parents shop.
The move, introduced in more than 800 stores nationwide, follows a successful trial and will include offering a selection of fruit such as apples, citrus and bananas for parents to give to their children as an alternative to sweets.
Heart Research UK have welcomed the move, and has long campaigned for children to be offered healthy alternatives to sweets and fizzy drinks as part of a drive against obesity.
Barbara Dinsdale, Lifestyle Manager of Heart Research UK, said: “We applaud Tesco on this initiative to offer healthier snack alternatives to children whilst shopping.
“Getting children to eat a free piece of fruit during the day has to be a winning solution towards fighting childhood obesity as well as contributing to children’s five a day.
“Let’s hope other stores follow suit.”
The initiative is the latest in Tesco’s “healthy eating push” after it removed sweets and chocolate from checkouts at all stores in 2014 and announced last year that all children’s lunchbox-sized soft drinks it sells would contain no added sugar.
The latest figures on childhood obesity from the National Child Measurement Programme for 2014/15, show that 19.1 per cent of children aged ten and 11 in England were obese and a further 14.2 per cent were overweight.
The World Health Organisation regards childhood obesity as one of the most serious global public health challenges for the 21st century,.
Obese children and adolescents are at an increased risk of developing various health problems.
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