CAMPAIGNERS in East Lancashire have backed a campaign to tackle unhealthy snacking amongst children.

Public Health England's (PHE) new 'Change4Life' campaign encourages parents to 'look for 100 calorie snacks, two a day max'.

The message comes as data shows half of children's sugar intake stems from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks, leading to obesity and dental decay.

On average, children are consuming at least three unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks a day, with around a third consuming four or more

Each year children consume, on average, almost 400 biscuits, more than 120 cakes, buns and pastries, 100 portions of sweets, 70 chocolate bars and ice creams and 150 juice drink pouches and cans of fizzy drink, the data shows.

Former health boss Cllr Azhar Ali, the Labour leader on Lancashire County Council, said the campaign was a 'really good idea' in the fight against obesity.

He said: "It's not going to have an impact straight away but anything that encourages parents and children to think about eating healthier has to be welcomed.

"Lancashire is a very deprived area and this can have an impact on what children eat, as they may go to school with crisps as they have nothing else.

"So this is also about tackling poverty and deprivation and trying to introduce introduce schemes that can make a difference such as free swimming classes or attending sports clubs.

Cllr Gordon Birtwistle, leader of the Liberal Democrats on Burnley Council, also supported the scheme.

He said: "It's a good idea as there are lots of obese children who become obese adults, which is a drain on our economy and health service."

The campaign will also see parents signposted and given special offers on a range of healthier snacks, including fruit and vegetables at selected supermarkets.

They can also get money-off vouchers to help them try healthier snack options, including malt loaf, lower sugar fromage frais, and drinks with no added sugar.

NHS figures show one in three youngsters in East Lancashire are obese when they leave primary school.

Steve Morton, from Public Health England North West, said: "The overall result is that children consume three times more sugar than is recommended.

“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 calories snacks, two a day max, we’re helping them to give healthier snacks, while giving them less frequently.”