Bosses with mood swings make workers most anxious

Does your boss switch between being friendly and nasty at the drop of a hat? It may make you more anxious than having an employer who is in a bad mood all the time, a study conducted in India and the UK has found.

Not being able to predict how their boss is going to act towards them has a detrimental effect on the productivity of workers, researchers said.

Far from the stereotypical view that ruthless and unsympathetic managers cause the greatest issues for employees, researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK showed that bosses who switch between being friendly and severe at the drop of a hat are actually most damaging.

Experts found even a poor but consistent relationship with managers was better for workers than one that was influenced by mood swings.

The impact is worse when colleagues dont have a supportive relationship with their co-workers.

Academics measured how “ambivalent” staff felt about their manager ? to what extent they had both positive and negative views about them.

“The focus is usually on trying to work out if relationships between staff and bosses are good or bad, but they can sometimes be both, and it is important to measure that,” said Allan Lee, from University of Exeter in the UK.

“Bosses reward and punish their workers, and this has an impact on self-esteem. If their staff have to adopt different roles at different times because they have a manager who can be both nasty and nice they view him or her in an ambivalent way,” Lee said.

“If your boss is both pleasant and unpleasant to be around it is hard to know what they think about you, and if you cant predict how they will act,” he said.

“This makes it hard to trust them. This creates negative emotions and makes staff feel anxious, causing poor performance at work,” he added.

The study shows employees can compensate for an ambivalent relationship with their boss if they have a good relationship with other colleagues.

Researchers carried out four surveys in three companies ? two in the UK and one in India, asking what they thought about their bosses and how they performed in different tasks.

The 320 staff who took part worked in a service centre, providing telephone-based customer service support or outsourced human resources services and other business tasks.

A total of 60 teams of staff were examined, they shared a single supervisor but worked independently of each other.

5 easy cocktail recipes to spice up your New Year party

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New Year celebrations have already started and with the weekend here, it’s only expected that you would want to spend time with your loved ones with good food, music and a glass of amazing cocktail in your hand. But good cocktails are kind of like a rarity these days and even though the Internet is flooded with recipes, it’s imperative to get your hands on the right one, lest you don’t want to disappoint your guests if you are hosting a house party.

We have assembled five cocktail recipes that are simple to prepare and will have your guests humming in no time.

Grant’s Espresso Martini with a scotch twist

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50ml – Grant’s Family Reserve
1 Shot Espresso
25ml – Kahlua


* Make an espresso and fill shaker with ice.

* Add all the ingredients and shake.

* Strain and garnish with coffee beans.

Rusty Nail

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50ml – Grant’s Family Reserve
25ml – Drambuie
Lemon Twist or Orange Rind


* Add ice to the glass.

* Add Grants whisky and Drambuie to the glass and stir.

* Garnish with a lemon twist or orange rind.

The Irish Mule by Chef Abhinav Sharma, Factory By Sutra

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59ml – Irish whiskey
177ml – Ginger beer (or more)
Juice of half a lime (about 29ml)
Lime slices (optional, for garnish)
Mint sprig (optional, for garnish)


* Fill a copper mug (or other glass) with ice.

* Pour in whiskey and lime juice, top with ginger beer.

* Stir to mix, garnish with lime slices and mint sprig.

Indian Spiced Mulled Wine by Chef Abhinav Sharma, Factory By Sutra

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½ bottle – Red wine
1 – Cinnamon stick
2 – Star anise
2 – Cloves
1 – Orange, sliced
1 – Lemon, sliced
50g – Brown sugar


* Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan and simmer gently for 6-8 minutes, without boiling.

* Alternatively, place the ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low until warm (1-2 hours, depending on your slow cooker).

* To serve, pour the mulled wine into heatproof glasses.

Ballantine’s 12 Raspberry Collins

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50ml – Ballantine’s 12 Year Old
12.5ml – Raspberry purée
12.5ml – Lemon juice
12.5ml – Sugar syrup
5-6 – Fresh raspberries
Soda water
Ice, Lemon


* Drop 3-4 fresh raspberries into a highball glass and lightly bruise with the back of a bar spoon.

* Add 50ml of Ballantine’s 12 Year Old, 12.5ml of lemon juice, 12.5ml of sugar syrup and 12.5ml of raspberry purée.

* Add ice and top with soda water.

* Stir mixture together to ensure that the liquid and fruit is evenly distributed.

* Garnish with two fresh raspberries and a lemon slice.

‘Spider web inspired implant may control type 1 diabetes’

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Transplantation of stem cell-derived, insulin-producing islet cells is an alternative to insulin therapy, but that requires long-term immunosuppressive drug administration. One well-researched approach to avoid the immune system’s response is to coat and protect the cells in tiny hydrogel capsules, hundreds of microns in diameter. However, these capsules cannot be taken out of the body easily, since they are not connected to each other, and there are hundreds of thousands of them. The ability to remove the transplant is key because of its potential to form tumours, researchers said.

“When they fail or die, they need to come out. You do not want to put something in the body that you cannot take out. With our method, that is not a problem,” said Minglin Ma, assistant professor at Cornell University. Taking inspiration from the way water beads on a spider’s web, Ma and his team first attempted to connect the islet cell-containing capsules through a string but realised that it would be better to put the hydrogel layer uniformly around a string instead. That string is an ionised calcium releasing, nanoporous polymer thread, the researchers said.

This thread — which the group has dubbed Thread — Reinforced Alginate Fiber For Islets enCapsulation (TRAFFIC) — was inspired by a spider’s web but, according to Ma, is even better because the hydrogel covers the thread uniformly. “You do not have any gaps between capsules. With a spider’s silk, you still have gaps between the water beads. In our case, gaps would be bad in terms of scar tissue and the
like,” he said. This therapy would involve minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to implant about six feet of hydrogel-coated thread into the patient’s peritoneal cavity.

Get your glow back after the holidays with these expert skincare tips

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We all have our share of skin problems and it’s particularly bad after the holiday season with late nights, and a whole lot of eating and drinking. Most people complain about dull and tired looking skin during this season, which is heightened by the unfriendly winter cold.

In addition to your daily dose of moisturising, cleansing and toning, it’s time you take extra care and detoxify your skin in order to get rid of wastes and impurities.

Dr Lovneet Batra, clinical nutritionist, Fortis Healthcare and Dr Sakshi Chopra, bariatric nutritionist, Jaypee Hospital, Noida share expert tips with us on how to get the glow back.

Revitalise your skin with foods rich in antioxidants

Add pumpkins to your diet as they are rich in antioxidants and zinc, and can help revitalise your skin, regulate oil production, improve skin tone and reduce the appearance of open pores. You can also opt for tomatoes as they are loaded with a strong anti-aging antioxidant, lycopene, an essential element for a younger looking skin. It also helps in getting rid of toxins accumulated from alcohol and sugar binges, says Batra.

Antioxidants present in eggs, lutein and zeaxanthin, provide protection against free radicals. They also help in hydrating the skin leaving it soft and firm.

“You can also have green tea in the morning with honey or apple cider vinegar, which is rich in antioxidant”, says  Chopra.

Turmeric and fruit/mud face packs can do wonders

According to Batra, turmeric containing the antioxidant curcumin has proven to be one of the most effective anti-aging agents. It decreases the free radical load, leaving your skin looking younger.

You can mash raw turmeric, squeeze out the juice, and either apply it on your face or consume it raw with a small glass of lukewarm water and honey.

For skin glow, Chopra recommends applying a fruit pack or a mud pack. Fruit packs can include strawberry, kiwis and bananas. Alternatively, you can try a face pack, which has high turmeric content.

The best time to apply any pack is before going to sleep. Just keep it on for 20 mins and rinse off with water.

Work on those dark circles and blemishes

“Potatoes work as a natural bleaching agent for skin lightening and can help get rid of dark circles and puffy eyes”, says Batra.

You should also add cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and kiwi to your diet as they are loaded with antioxidants and can help you fight the blemishes. Chopra says having a glass of strawberry smoothie or a kiwi smoothie can help you get glowing skin.

Vitamin C and Vitamin E to prevent cell damage

Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, which is an antidote for cell damage. So you should definitely include that in your diet, but besides that, you should also have paneer, papayas and fruit punches.

Says Chopra, “Vegetables containing high fibre and water content, for example, vegetable smoothies like spinach and kale or spinach and cucumber are good for skin.”

Stay hydrated

Coconut water is hydrating and full of muscle relaxing potassium. It helps in clearing breakouts as a result of too much sugar or processed fried foods during party season.

How to keep your family fit and health

Believe it or not, kids’ fitness is important for their lifestyle. Experts suggest at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

The following fitness trends offer fun ways to exercise for kids as young as 5 years old.


Kids like having fun when they attempt physical activities. It may be easier for them to get active if you allow them to find their groove, says Zumba instructor Sonwabo Bomvana.

He says dance classes are ideal for kids aged 5 and older, as they can jam to their favourite music while getting fit.

“Classes feature age-appropriate moves and music designed to stimulate mental activity and improve flexibility, such as contemporary, pantsula or gumboot dance.” He suggests fun activities to avoid boredom.

Gyms not for adults only

Gone are the days of kids being limited to the little playroom while their parents sweat in the gym.

Mary Mutlanyane, Momentum wellness ambassador, says mixing exercise and play is a great way for parents and children to work out.

She says more yoga studios are offering classes that you and your child can do together to stretch and relax, while physical endurance sports such as soccer and netball can help adults and kids get fit.

“While your kids are practising or playing a match, rally the other moms and dads together and go for a jog around the field or court. This weekly workout is a great way to burn some calories. Let your fitness tracker notch up some points; you don’t have to sit on the sidelines feeling bored,” she says.

She also recommends doing fun activities with children, such as walking dogs, as another way of getting fit.

Glenn Joselowitz, co-founder of The Kids Gym in Cape Town, says children are no longer as active as they used be because of technology.

“It is important for kids to get physical education and be taught about healthy lifestyles while they are young so that as they grow, being active becomes a lifestyle.”


While karate is beneficial for children’s fitness, there are more benefits to it.

According to a recent study conducted by the University of California, practising martial arts has helped to reduce theft, vandalism, and physical and verbal aggression in children aged 6 to 18.


Lindsay Morgan, a remedial teacher and qualified children’s yoga instructor, says yoga has been proven to assist in the reduction of stress and encourages better sleep.

She says over-exposure to too much information and stimulus before children’s brains are fully developed can make it difficult for them to cope.

“Yoga enhances children’s concentration by promoting mindfulness. It teaches them to focus on what is happening right now.”

Not only does it boost children’s self-esteem, but yoga also teaches little ones to accept and express their feelings appropriately, and learn tolerance.

It also helps children to cope better under stressful situations.


Although, traditionally, ballet was not used for health reasons, nowadays this form of dance is increasingly practised as a form of exercise.

Debbie Calder, from Just Move Dance and Fitness Studio in Cape Town, says ballet is an excellent activity for children because it does not only promote exercise, but helps children with life skills such as discipline, musicality, rhythm and confidence.

She says ballet involves physical strength, agility, and helps children to remember different positions and pathways of movement. It also helps improve concentration as well as balancing, co-ordination and flexibility.

“At a young age, ballet involves more musicality, rhythm, balance and nurturing a general love of movement.

As one gets older, ballet becomes increasingly more physical and therefore requires a lot of discipline, fitness and strength,” said Calder.

Use the jungle gym

Mutlanyane says the jungle gym in a park can also be used for doing sit-ups and push-ups.

“Pushing your child on the swing is a great exercise for adults, and you can lean against the side of the slide to do squats while pushing your child.

“Pull-ups on rungs, if there are any, and using the park bench for balance during leg raises are all great options.

If your children are slightly older you can even do a race together,” she said.

Here are the lifestyle trends that will impact you in 2018


Less will continue to be more in 2018.

Vacations will be more focused on wellness or volunteering, as opposed to decadent, all-inclusive destinations.

Look for maple to be the new pumpkin spice this fall.

Our retail and beauty needs will still be filled not by one-stop shopping experiences like a mega-gym or an all-purpose salon, but by boutique experiences that will become and more niche. Think Saturday morning Flywheel spin class, followed by a Sweetgreen salad and then a trip to a just-brows space, like East Fall’s Nicck Townsend.

Designers will move beyond being defined by things like seasonal colors for clothing and home accessories — this year’s color of the year is ultra violet — in order to be more inclusive of everyone, not just the skinny models walking the runways. Instead, fashion will be defined more by the pragmatic and the functional, based on the need of the consumer and the ability of entrepreneurs to serve the individual rather than the group. Our lifestyle choices will not be about just what a broad spectrum wants, but what we as individuals want.

We are in the midst of challenging many of our long-held beliefs. Should America’s centuries-old one-drop rule continue to define race, as it has with soon-to-be royal Meghan Markle? Do the labels pansexual, homosexual, and transgender even matter anymore? And what constitutes sexual harassment in the workplace? We confronted these ideas in 2017, and the conversation will get even louder in 2018.

How will our newfound virtues — or lack thereof — be manifested in the way we dress, what we eat, where we exercise, how we shop, and how we socialize? No one knows for sure. But read on for my list of lifestyle trends we predict will be front and center for the next 12 months.

Glam-comfort will augment athleisure

American women won’t be giving up all-purpose leggings, dressy joggers, or wedge sneakers. But in 2018, look for ladies to dress up their comfy basics with lush extras, like velvet tennis shoes, raglan-sleeve hoodies, leather bomber jackets, and metallic pleated skirts that will easily take us from the couch to happy hour. As for the mini-mes in our lives, we’ll be dressing them less like adults and more like the little people they are. Look for kids’ soft clothes to feature embroidery and patches for a retro 1970s look.

Former DIY looks are now defined as fine jewelry

Handmade pieces — such as you would find at a craft fair like the Art Star Craft Bazaar or on the maker marketplace Etsy — will continue to stream into the realm of fine jewelry. Some personalized baubles are made with real diamonds and precious metals. Look for designers like local artisans Kat Mitman Kobak (whose designs have been worn by Taylor Swift and Jennifer Hudson on the red carpet) and Carla Eichler, who commands between $250 and $1,600 for her work.

Haute hygge

Our obsession with hygge — the Danish word for “cozy” and the inspiration for Fairmount’s Bar Hygge — will remain our desired way of life, especially as the temperature continues to plummet this week. We’ll be trotting out our electric blankets and brewing that special pot of tea as we catch up on Netflix shows we missed over the busy holiday.

Wellness will remain key

We’ll keep building our lives around health and wellness habits, from our 10-minute daily meditation practice to doing regular three-, five-, or seven-day detoxes to our commitment to high-intensity interval training (check out HIIT workout courtesy of Marlboro,  N.J., trainer Eraldo Maglara). This year, also look for out-of-town stays that offer wellness experiences. Local hotels like AKA University City and Sofitel are serving clean-eating meals as part of their standard fare and offer amenities personalized to your health needs.

Age-defying skin care targets younger audiences

If trends in Botox proved anything, it’s that millennials will age on their own terms.  At 3000BC, the Chestnut Hill day spa, the under-35 set asks for targeted treatments, like HydraFacials and chemical peels. The must-have procedure of this year’s red-carpet season, says Cherry Hill physician  Steven Davis, is liposuction that removes the underarm fat that tends to spill over the top of strapless dresses. Center City dermatologist Franziska Ringpfeil predicts an uptick in the use of topical peptide creams that effectively break down old collagen and stimulate growth of elastins and collagen for younger-looking, smoother skin.

Don’t make me say it again: Don’t touch me.

2018 symbolically started when former Philadelphian and #MeToo founder Tarana Burke pressed the button that kicked off the Times Square ball drop. That’s all the proof I need that sexual harassment in the workplace (and on the streets) will not be tolerated in 2018. In addition to protests and the deserved comeuppance of so many powerful men, more and more companies are rethinking their sexual harassment policies. Fran Griesing, a Philadelphia attorney and expert on women’s issues in the workplace, has already seen an uptick in companies big and small updating workplace handbooks so that do’s and don’ts are clear. And, Griesing says, that will continue through the year.

Coffee is my nude. What’s yours?

Pop-singer Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty makeup collection challenged the old-school foundation rules that there are only three shades of brown: light, dark, and very dark for women of color. Building on that idea, intimate brands like Nubian Skin and shoe companies like Kahmune are offering endless shades of chocolate, from the milkiest of whites to the deepest of browns.

How YOU label me is not MY problem.

Spike Lee’s Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It pushed pansexuality into the spotlight. And Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle started a conversation that challenged centuries-old definitions of race. The bottom line, however, is that neither sexuality nor race are linear constructs. People are who they say they are, rather than who society tells them they are. Period.

That said, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to enjoy a royal wedding.

Myanmar Rohingya crisis: UK medics to help tackle diphtheria

medics and their luggage in the airport

A team of British medical staff is travelling to Bangladesh to help tackle an outbreak of diphtheria affecting Rohingya Muslim refugee camps.

The first of more than 40 doctors, nurses and firefighters are on their way to Cox’s Bazar – at the request of the World Health Organization.

Cox’s Bazar is home to more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in bordering Myanmar.

The government said the deployment was “another proud moment for the NHS”.

This is the first deployment of Britain’s emergency medical team (EMT) since it was certified by the World Health Organization in 2016.

The staff, who come from different parts of the NHS across the UK, will be at the camps for six weeks working to fight the spread of diphtheria.

The highly contagious disease has already killed at least 27 people and up to 160 new cases are being reported daily.

The infection is now very rare in the UK, but affects the nose and throat and can lead to difficulty breathing, heart failure, paralysis and death.

A group of 16 medics left from Manchester airport on Thursday, with the remaining team members following in the coming days and weeks.

Among them was Derek Sloan, an infections and disease doctor who is usually working in Fife but has also had experience of working in the field.

He described the “emotional and psychological cost” of the work.

“Sometimes you don’t really feel that until you get back,” he told the BBC.

“Having done this kind of work before doesn’t make you immune to the difficulties of it. But we’re also a good source of support to one another and we are used to working in a difficult environment.”

As of 21 December, the charity Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) said it had seen more than 2,000 suspected cases in its health facilities. The majority of patients were between five and 14 years old.

Crystal VanLeeuwen, the emergency medical co-ordinator for MSF at one of the camps, said the living conditions of the camp presented added challenges.

There is a “very poor water and sanitation situation, overcrowding… and low vaccination coverage”, she said.

An estimated 620,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh following persecution from the Burmese military in their native state of Rakhine, since August.

The United Nations described the military offensive in Rakhine, which provoked the exodus, as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

Myanmar’s military says it is fighting Rohingya militants and denies targeting civilians.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said it was “absolutely right” for the UK to “step up” and help ease the suffering of the Rohingya families.

“This will be an absolutely critical deployment, in a race against time for men, women and children at risk of dying from one of the world’s cruellest infections,” she added.

The deployment will be funded from the department for international development’s (DFID) Bangladesh humanitarian budget .

‘Wearing a stoma bag is part of my life and it is a great one’

Jackie Mills with her daughter Kerry, son Stewart and husband Steve

Living with a stoma is not always easy. Natalie Toper from London spoke to the BBC about her reaction when she found out she would need an ileostomy. She also told us how hard she found it to come to terms with life as an ostomate.

An ileostomy is an operation involving the small intestine being diverted through an opening – or stoma – in the abdomen. A bag is then placed over the stoma to collect liquid and waste. The procedure can either be temporary or permanent.

Her story prompted other ostomates to get in touch and share their experiences.

‘Fear of being caught short’

Jackie is 52 and from Thatcham in Berkshire. When she was in her teens she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

She felt that the constant fear of needing to go to the toilet in a hurry put many restrictions on her life. Public transport was a problem and Jackie also dreaded queues and traffic jams.

“My poor boyfriend (now husband) felt his life was being wasted waiting outside ladies loos!”

It was after Jackie had her first baby at the age of 30, that she felt it was time to take action.

“Something had to be done otherwise I wasn’t going to be able to take my baby son anywhere on my own for fear of being caught short.”

She discussed options with her doctor and decided she should have an ileostomy.

In the 22 years since that operation, Jackie feels that her life has changed for the better.

Jackie is able to manage her condition by carrying her kit in a spare bag that looks like an ordinary cosmetic bag.

The fear of getting “caught short” has been replaced by new opportunities.

Jackie has been able to travel with her husband and two children and now enjoys roller skating and swimming. “I wear high-waisted bikini bottoms under my swimming costume,” she says.

Most importantly, Jackie doesn’t feel that having a stoma is a disability. It’s part of her life and in her words “it’s a great one”.

‘I can empathise with people’

From a young age, Michelle Willcocks, now 31, always enjoyed sport, especially track and swimming.

Like Jackie she endured years of pain and discomfort – in Michelle’s case this was because of an ulcerative colitis, a condition where the colon and rectum become inflamed.

Michelle, from Ravenshead in Northamptonshire, believes having a stoma fitted in 2011 was one of the best things that has happened to her.

It didn’t stop her competitive edge and she has since become a world triathlon champion.

Image copyright Michelle Willcocks
Image caption Michelle says that wearing a stoma hasn’t stopped her competitive edge

Michelle admits that she was fortunate to receive good support from her stoma nurses, with whom she is still in touch.

Being proactive and reaching out to support groups has also helped her cope.

She contacted the Ileostomy and Internal Pouch Support Group, which enabled her to link up with people in a similar position so she doesn’t feel isolated.

Her relationship with her boyfriend at the time didn’t last. “He had been very supportive throughout my illness. But probably due to the freedom the stoma gave me to be more active, we grew apart,” she says.

“I realised we wanted different things in life.”

Three years after surgery, Michelle met her current partner Chris at a running club.

Chris found out about Michelle’s stoma through her openness about it on social media and then did his own research.

Michelle was initially nervous about meeting someone new, but says Chris has helped her to feel confident in her body.

“Life as an ostomate means I can empathise with people who also have to learn to cope with life-changing conditions,” adds Michelle, who says that is a useful skill for her job as an NHS dietitian, where she works with people who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

As for carrying around spare kit in her bag… she just describes herself as a “Barbie doll with accessories”.

‘I live a completely normal life’

Three years ago, whilst studying civil engineering in Glasgow, Iain was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

Despite being treated with steroids, Iain, now 25, experienced constant discomfort and it was decided that an ileostomy was the best option.

It was a life-changing period in many ways. Iain had to leave his studies and return to his family home in the Isle of Lewis following the operation in Glasgow.

He readily admits that having major surgery and getting used to wearing a stoma was “daunting”.

However, having a mother as a nurse as well as recovering in a close-knit Highlands and Islands community was a great boost.

Regular visits from a stoma nurse as well as his faith helped with the healing process.

Iain now lives in Edinburgh where he is training to be a minister.

Like Jackie and Michelle, he feels that the key is a positive attitude and the ability to adapt.

Wearing a stoma doesn’t stop him playing sports such as football and swimming.

As Iain says: “I live a completely normal life and am not inhibited. Also as a Christian I have my faith in God.”

Limit children’s snacks to 100 calories, health body says

Child reaching for a cake

Half of the sugar young children in England consume comes from unhealthy snacks and sweet drinks, figures show.

On average, primary school children have at least three sugary snacks a day, Public Health England found.

This means they can easily consume three times more sugar than the recommended maximum.

PHE has launched a campaign to encourage parents to look for healthier snacks of no more than 100 calories – and to limit them to two a day.

The eight-week Change4Life campaign will offer money-off vouchers towards items including malt loaf, lower-sugar yoghurt and drinks with no added sugar in some supermarkets.

  • How much sugar is hidden in your food?
  • Sugar targets set for cakes and chocolate
  • Sugar warning over fruit snacks

Children between the ages of four and 10 consumed 51.2% of their sugar from unhealthy snacks, including biscuits, cakes, pastries, buns, sweets, juice and fizzy drinks, PHE’s National Diet and Nutritional Survey found.

Each year children consume, on average, some 400 biscuits, 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.

Too much sugar can cause tooth decay and obesity.

Calories in snacks

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Manufacturers are being challenged to cut sugar by 20% in their products by 2020
  • An ice cream – about 175 calories
  • A pack of crisps – 190 calories
  • A chocolate bar – 200 calories
  • A pastry – 270 calories

Source: Kantar research group

Snacks containing no more than 100 calories

  • Soreen malt lunchbox loaves (apple, banana or original malt)
  • Petits Filous fromage frais (strawberry and raspberry, strawberry, strawberry and apricot, strawberry and banana)
  • Fruit Shoot hydro water in apple and blackcurrant flavour
  • Fresh or tinned fruit salad
  • Chopped vegetables and lower fat hummus
  • Plain rice cakes or crackers with lower fat cheese
  • Sugar-free jelly
  • One crumpet
  • One scotch pancake

Source: Public Health England

The Change4Life campaign now wants parents to give their children a maximum of two snacks a day containing no more than 100 calories each, not including fruit and vegetables.

The campaign will offer parents special offers on a range of healthier snacks – ones with 100 calories or fewer – at selected supermarkets, Public Health England said.

Healthier suggested snacks include packs of chopped vegetables and fruit, malt loaf, sugar-free jelly, and plain rice crackers.

Public Health England said it had also improved its app that reveals the content of sugar, salt and saturated fat in food and drink.

Lunch box snacks

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, told the BBC she hoped the campaign would help to “empower” parents to make healthier snacking choices for their children.

“If you wander through a supermarket you see many more things being sold as snacks than ever before,” she said.

“What has changed is kids’ lunch boxes are getting full of snacking products. It leads to a lot of calories for lunch.

“Our research showed us that parents appreciated a rule of thumb. They were surprised how much sugar their children were consuming in snacks.”

Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, said: “The volume of sugar kids are getting from snacks and sugary drinks alone is pretty mind blowing, and it can often be difficult to distinguish which snacks are healthy and which aren’t.

“This rule of thumb from Change4Life will help parents make healthier choices, which can only be a good thing.”

Public Health England has previously called on businesses to cut sugar by 20% by 2020, and by 5% in 2017, but experts have questioned how the targets can be enforced.

Taiwan dentist must repay mother for training fees

File photo: Close up of a dentist examining a patient's teeth

Taiwan’s top court has ordered a man to pay his mother almost $1m (£710,000) for raising him and funding his dentistry training.

The mother signed a contract with her son in 1997, when he was 20 years old, stating he would pay her 60% of his monthly income after qualifying.

She took him to court after he refused to pay her for several years.

The son argued it was wrong to demand a financial return for raising a child, but the court ruled the contract valid.

He has been ordered to make back payments, as well as interest, to his mother.

‘Responsibility to provide’

The mother, identified only by her surname Luo, raised both her sons after she and her husband divorced.

Ms Luo said she had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars funding both her sons through dentistry school, but became worried they would be unwilling to care for her in old age.

Subsequently, she signed a contract with both of them stipulating they would pay her a portion of their earnings as repayments for the school fees, up to a total of $1.7m.

The elder son reached an agreement with his mother and settled the contract for a smaller amount, local media report.

However, the younger son, identified by his last name Chu, argued that he was very young when he signed the agreement, and the contract should be considered invalid.

Mr Chu also argued that he had worked in his mother’s dental clinic for years after graduating and had helped her make more than the amount he was now ordered to pay her.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman told the BBC the judges had reached their decision mainly because they thought the contract was valid since the son was an adult when he signed it and was not forced to do so.

Under Taiwan’s civil code, adult offspring have the responsibility to provide for their elderly parents, although most parents do not sue if their children fail to take care of them in old age, the BBC’s Cindy Sui in Taipei reports.

This case is seen as particularly unusual because it involves a parent-child contract, our correspondent adds.