At Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity we believe only the best is good enough for our sick kids, and that’s why we’re asking our supporters to join us in thinking about the health implications of us handing out excessive quantities of sugary snacks to our sick kids during the festive period.

Children and young people treated at our hospital already receive lots of confectionery gifts for seasonal holidays from friends and family. Although these can be a treat in moderation, we know lots of families are trying to stick to a healthier diet. We want to help them do that, particularly given the range of health problems linked to excess calorie consumption, so we’ve decided that we are no longer able to distribute confectionery gifts to our patients.

There are lots of other ways you can help us to make a real difference to the children and young people in our care. Here are some other opportunities for you to support us this Christmas that will have a really positive impact on our children and their hospital experience:

  • Donate a gift/toy so we can ensure all the children who spend the festive period with us have presents to open throughout December and most importantly on Christmas morning!
  • Donate money online and your gift will be invested where the need is greatest within the hospital
  • Take part in one of our festive fundraisers such as Jolly Jumper Day or attend our Christmas Concert
  • Take a look at our online shop.

We are so incredibly grateful for your support. Thanks to people like you we can make a real difference to all who use our hospital’s services, offering our exceptional young people only the best possible experience.

Thank you from all of us at Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity x 

Why we’re doing this

  • We look after a significant number of children and young people who can’t eat confectionery such as chocolate. This is either due to their medical condition (our metabolic disease patients), how confectionery affects their disease (our diabetic patients) or for patients who need good dental health to prevent infection (our heart surgery patients) 
  • With advertising, marketing, and cheap sugar products, the food environment in the West Midlands makes it hard for children and young people to keep a healthy weight. One in 14 children are now classed as ‘severely obese’ in some parts of our region. In Birmingham alone, 4,000 children (25%) are overweight by the time they start reception class, rising to nearly 6,000 children (40%) by the time they reach Year 6 at school. The evidence is clear now that obesity can cause a number of physical and mental health problems, and we don’t want the hospital to be part of the problem. 
  • Dental health is also a problem in our area. One in three children have tooth decay by age 12, meaning there are 10,000 damaged or missing teeth for this single year age group in Birmingham alone. 
  • We’re not alone in doing this – other specialist children’s hospitals are taking the same approach to help improve the health and wellbeing of their patients.

Read more from our experts at Birmingham Children's Hospital.