Find healthy swaps with food scanner. Picture of a yogurt getting scanned by the NHS Food Scanner App app on a mobile phone. Nhs and Better Health logos shown.

Nationwide campaign launches to help improve children’s health with a few simple swaps

January 11, 2022

A new campaign from the Department of Health and Social Care’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) has launched, heroing the NHS Food Scanner App as part of its first ‘Better Health’ children’s nutrition campaign.

The App is the ideal hack for families, helping them to swap food and drink that are higher in sugar, saturated fat, and salt to healthier alternatives. The App comes on the back of a record rise in obesity amongst children over the last school year, with latest data highlighting that 1 in 4 children of reception school age are overweight or obese; this rises to 4 in 10 in Year 6 (ages 10-11). With a simple scan of the barcodes, families can see how much sugar, saturated fat, and salt is in everyday food and drinks.

The App suggests healthier swaps, by encouraging users to choose “Good Choice” products – there are thousands of Good Choice food and drink products you can swap to. The NHS Food Scanner App provides parents with an easy hack to  improve their children’s health in 2022.

Download the free App today from the App Store or Google Play or search ‘Better Health Healthier Families’


Obesity Rates

  • Rates in both reception-aged and Year 6 schoolchildren increased by about 4.5 percentage points between 2019-20 and 2020-21 – the highest annual rise since the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) began.
  • Obesity prevalence among four and five-year-olds in reception classes rose from 9.9 per cent in 2019-20 to 14.4 per cent in 2020-21.
  • Among Year 6 pupils – who are aged 10 and 11 – obesity prevalence increased from 21 per cent in 2019-20 to 25.5 per cent in 2020-21.

Deprivation and Obesity

  •  Obesity prevalence among children living in the most deprived areas was more than that of those in the least deprived areas.
  • Among reception-aged children, 20.3 per cent in the most deprived areas were obese compared to 7.8 per cent in the least deprived.
  • In Year 6 school children, the proportion who were obese ranged from 33.8 per cent among those living in the most deprived areas to 14.3 per cent in the least deprived

Obesity and the NHS

• It is estimated that overweight and obesity related conditions across the UK are costing the NHS £6.1 billion each year
• Latest figures show there were nearly 900,000 obesity related hospital admissions in 2018 to 2019
• If all people who are overweight or living with obesity in the population lost just 2.5kg (one-third of a stone), it could save the NHS £105 million over the next 5 years

Simple steps and healthy food swaps can help children and families to be healthy now and in the future.  Download the NHS Food Scanner App today.