PARENTS in Hampshire are being urged to reduce sugary drinks and snacks for children by national health bosses.

New figures show that almost one in four youngsters are overweight or obese when they join reception aged just four.

Six years later, that figure increases to almost one in three.

Public Health England say that the statistics are a result of children eating on average around seven sugar cubes worth each day from drinks and snacks.

They say that children are consuming at least three unhealthy snacks and drinks every day, with one in three having four or more, which is three times more sugar than is recommended.

Now, PHE have stepped in, giving parents in Hampshire special offers on healthier snacks and money-off vouchers in a bid to encourage more fruit and vegetables in diets.

Angela Baker, deputy director for Health and Wellbeing at PHE said: “Changing our children’s snacking habits can be a real challenge and we want to make it easier for families to find healthier options.

“By asking parents to look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day maximum, we’re helping them to give healthier snacks, while giving them less frequently.”

The figures across the county say that 23.2 per cent of children are overweight by reception, which is the same figure specifically for Southampton.

As they head into year six, the figure rises to 29.3 per cent in Hampshire, and 35 per cent in Southampton.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at PHE said: “The true extent of children’s snacking habits is greater than the odd biscuit or chocolate bar.

“Children are having unhealthy snacks throughout the day and parents have told us they’re concerned.”

PHE’s Change4Life campaign also comes with a food scanner application for phones to show how many calories and sugar an item contains.

Each year, children are consuming almost 400 biscuits, more than 120 cakes and pastries, and around 100 portions of sweets, all washed down with more than 150 juice drink pouches.