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Don’t Sugar Coat Our Future


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Consumption of sugary drinks is now the single largest caloric intake in children.

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Initiative By American Heart Association Aims To Curb Childhood Obesity

Over the past year, the United States has seen a dramatic incline in childhood obesity. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), about 1 in 3 American kids and teens is overweight or obese, which is nearly triple the rate since 1963.

Childhood obesity has become the No.1 health concern among parents in the U.S. Kids today have health problems usually not seen until adulthood, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels and Type 2 Diabetes.

One of the primary culprits of childhood obesity is sugar-sweetened beverages, which includes soda, sports drinks and sweetened waters and teas. According to the American Heart Association, consumption of sugary drinks has increased by 500 percent over the past 50 years and is now the single largest caloric intake in children.

Beverages like energy drinks can be deceiving because they advertise that they are healthy, the AHA says, but usually are loaded with calories and sugar. Common forms of added sugars are sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, corn syrups, concentrated fruit juice and honey.

If you have sugary drinks on a regular basis, the AHA recommends you start by cutting out one of those drinks in the first week. A week later, drink two fewer a day. Continue until you’ve cut out nearly all the sweetened teas, soda and drinks from your daily routine.

Here are a few tips to get your family on board with healthier options:

  • Carry a Refillable Water Bottle: The best way to start the summer off to a healthy and nutritious start is by working up to drinking more water. Start carrying a refillable water jug at soccer games or the beach. This will help kids learn how much water they need to drink during the day. It also keeps them from wanting to sip on sugary drinks while they are out in the sun.

 

  • Try Infusing Water with Fresh Fruit: If your kids don’t like the taste of water, a great way to encourage them to drink more is by infusing the water with fresh fruits. Start by filling up Mason Jars with fresh fruit like cucumbers, strawberries, oranges and lemons and leave in the refrigerator overnight. Spice it up with a colorful straw!

 

  • Pack Healthy Snacks Before You Hit the Road: Apples, grapes, raisins and whole grain fiber-rich crackers will help hold your kids over until it’s time for a rest break. Packing water bottles will also help keep your kids from grabbing sugary drinks at a rest stop.

 

  • Always Look for the AHA Checkmark: Look for the AHA Checkmark sign on food packages
    to make sure the product falls in line with the organization’s heart-healthy guidelines.

 

The key to stay healthy is to make sure you are reading ingredients, cutting back slowly and working up to drinking more water. To find out more, visit heart.org.


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