Healthy Holidays 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 excessive quantities of sugary snacks, including chocolate being given to our patients at Christmas. Don’t worry, we aren’t banning chocolate completely – we know that many of the children and young people treated at our hospital will still get lots of treats from their friends and family. Instead what we want to do is help our families stick to a healthier diet, especially if it’s an essential part of their child’s recovery - there are a considerable number of health problems linked to excess calorie consumption. For that reason we’ve decided that we will no longer distribute chocolate and sweets to our patients. However, there are still lots of other ways you can help us to make a real difference to the children and young people in our care. Cheap chocolate is gone in a moment, so here are some other ways you can have a positive impact on our children and their hospital experience: Purchase one of our Alternative Gifts on our online shop Donate money online and your gift will be invested where the need is greatest within the hospital 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. 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.