Summer is well underway and local residents will be looking into their fridge for a refreshing drink to quench their thirst. If it’s up to the Public Health Department and the YMCA, youth will be well informed and opting out of the usual sugary soda. Kids will be more likely to reach for a cold glass of water this summer thanks to the launch of a county-wide campaign educating and challenging children in YMCA programs to rethink their drinks.
American teens today drink nearly twice as many sweetened beverages as milk. The majority of people underestimate the amount of excess, non-nutritious calories that sodas and sugary beverages provide. In one regular 20 oz soda alone there are nearly 17 teaspoons of sugar. Daily consumption of these sweetened beverages dramatically increases a child’s risk for being overweight or obese later in life.
“Encouraging children, parents and families to reduce the amount of sweetened beverages and substitute them for healthier drink choices is one easy way to combat childhood obesity in our County,” says Kathleen Karle, MA, CHES, program manager for Public Health’s Childhood Obesity Prevention program.
The ReThink Your Drink campaign conducted by the SLO Public Health Department is aimed to bring attention to the sugar content of soda and other popular sugar-sweetened drinks, teach proper use of the nutrition facts label and offers insight to healthier substitutes for highly sweetened drinks, like soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks. All YMCA summer programs, including youth and their parents, will be learning about the campaign this summer and invited to participate in an 8-week ReThink Your Drink summer challenge. In addition they will be given a poster and a water bottle to help them make healthier beverage choices, such as water with sliced fruit, non or low-fat milk, 100% fruit juice, tomato juice or smoothies. There will be a raffle for prizes at the end of the challenge, as well as a raffle for a 3-month YMCA gym membership for the YMCA parents taking the challenge.
The campaign’s goal is to reach as many children, residents and organizations in the Gold Coast region to foster a change in beverage consumption. As a part of the campaign, the Public Health Department and the Healthy Eating, Active Living –SLO (HEAL-SLO) Coalition provide trainings, presentations and educational material free of charge to local organizations, schools and programs. Alternative language materials are also used to reach a broader range of families ultimately increasing the awareness of the detrimental outcomes of consumption of sugary drinks.
HEAL-SLO represents over 45 local organizations aimed at improving the health of children and residents in San Luis Obispo County. It is a part of the tri-County Gold Coast Collaborative (comprising of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties) for Nutrition and Fitness which aims to support healthy eating and physical activity on the Gold Coast. Each county will be conducting their own ReThink Your Drink launches as well this summer.
WANT TO TAKE THE CHALLENGE? It’s easy!
- Click on the Pledge Card below to fill out and
- Use the Tracking Form below to keep account of the beverages you drink!
FOR MORE general information about sugary beverages, view the attachments below!
For additional information about the ReThink Your Drink campaign or HEAL-SLO, contact Vanessa Stringham at (805) 788-2718, or firstname.lastname@example.org.