Cancer Research has published new research which shows that the nation's love affair with sugar starts at an early age
Scottish toddlers scoff more than a million sweets every week, analysis has shown.
Cancer Research UK has carried out new research which focuses on the eating habits of children aged two to four.
The charity is calling for the Scottish Government to introduce new laws to restrict multi-buy offers on junk food to help people eat a healthier diet through its expected obesity strategy.
Data based on the Scottish Health Survey showed that children aged two to four across the population are eating sweets 1,036,992 times a week.
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert, who is based at the University of Stirling, said: “It’s clear from these new figures that Scotland’s love affair with sugar begins at an early age.
“While there’s no harm in the occasional treat, it’s clear from this new analysis that sweets and chocolate are regularly being eaten by young children in large quantities.
“Unfortunately, this is leading to far too many children becoming overweight – something which could have serious consequences for their future health.”
Cancer Research UK asked some mums who have attended classes at the Daisy Foundation Lanarkshire to find out if they’d support action on supermarket multi-buy offers on unhealthy food.
Lauren Murphy of Blantyre is mum to two boys – nine-year-old Cole and Carter, who will celebrate his second birthday in August.
The 29-year-old photographer said: “When you’re walking through the supermarket, trying to keep to a budget, the special offers on unhealthy snacks do turn your head. You’re trying to stock up on things that will keep the family fed and happy but won’t break the bank.
“I think the multibuy deals especially encourage you to stock up on unhealthy food and those snacks can disappear all too quickly. Before you know it you’re back at the supermarket repeating the whole process.”
Claire Nicol, 41, is mum to three-year-old Sophia and is expecting her second child in August. She said: “When I pick up these multibuy offers, I’m thinking about affordability. I can stock up the cupboards with food at a good price.
“I try to watch what Sophia eats but it’s hard sometimes. Sophia is also now getting to an age where she wants sweets all the time. I’m having to be much more careful about what I agree to, making sure she only getting a sugary snack now and again as a treat. It would be all too easy for it to become a habit, and when you’ve got a stock of chocolates or crisps in the cupboard then it’s hard not to reach for it.”