Not Such a Sweet Deal: The Campaign Against Sugary Beverages

Did you know nearly one in four children in Boulder County between the ages of two and fourteen are overweight or obese? That one in three children will develop type 2 diabetes? For children of color, those odds rise to one in two.

It’s no secret, sugar is bad for you. Extremely high glycemic, sugar is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a spike in blood sugar followed by a marked dip, creating fatigue. Not only is it devoid of real nutrients, it taxes the digestive system, is high in calories, and is linked to a host of health issues, including obesity and diabetes.

For parents aiming to limit children’s exposure to sugar, some culprits are obvious. Others may be more difficult to spot, with products disguised as having false nutritional value thanks to savvy marketing. One of the most prevalent examples is sugary beverages, with one juice drink typically equaling the sugar content of eight cookies.

If sometimes it feels like you’re swimming in a sea of conflicting information, overloaded with confusing messaging about so-called “healthy beverages”, be reassured. Here in Longmont, we have a whole lot of support helping to navigate the muddy waters. For one, there is the tireless parent group known as St. Vrain Healthy Kids was recently invited to collaborate with Boulder County Health in the campaign against sugary beverages.

“We were impressed that within just a few months [St. Vrain Healthy Kids] had amassed several hundred followers by posting informative messages about healthy eating and the connection between food and academic performance,” says Tessa Hale, Boulder County Public Health Beverage and Food Advisor. “I immediately recognized the effectiveness of their ability to reach parents, educate, and advocate by educating and inspiring, and therefore reached out to them.”

With financial support from Boulder County Public Health, St. Vrain Healthy Kids is putting offering two key educational events informing the Longmont community about the harms of sugary drinks while promoting healthy alternatives, like water.  The first event will be held at the Longmont Youth Center January 22, and will be speaking particularly to teens and their families. Panel members will include Dr. Yaira Oquendo-Figueroa, Director of Training for Behavioral Health at Salud Medical Center; Dr. Jody Davis, DDS Family Dentistry at Salud Medical Center; and Michael Beer, Medical Director at Salud Medical Director at Salud Medical Center. 

A second event is scheduled for April 18 at the Longmont Museum, and will engage local experts to weigh in on discussions. Each event, along with other promotional materials, are offered in English and Spanish.

Want to learn more, and support the cause? Visit hidden-sugar.org/, launched by the Healthy Beverage Partnership to increase public awareness. Watch the compelling videos, which will also be shared and discussed at the Sugar Panel events, Sugar is Killing Us; The Sugary Truth; and The Hidden Dangers of Sugary Beverages, which was created by a high school student. Follow St. Vrain Healthy Kids on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Mark your calendars for January 22 at the Longmont Youth Center, and again for April 18 at the Longmont Museum. Most of all, be a positive role model. Consider if there’s room to rethink your drink. Every sip counts. 

Mark your calendars!
Sugar Panel
January 22
Longmont Youth Center
1050 Lashley St

4 – 6 pm

April 18
Longmont Museum
400 Quail Road
4 – 6 pm

Presentations will be offered in English and Spanish. Childcare provided. 

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