RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- From banning large sodas, to putting nutrition information on vending machines, the conversation about sugary drinks spans the United States, so a University of Nevada associate professor is helping parents teach their kids to make healthier choices.
"We have this innate preference for sweet," said Jamie Benedict, UNR Department of Agriculture, Nutrition and Veterinary Sciences associate professor.
Benedict said 70 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls age 2 to 19 have at least one sugary drink each day, and with endless options to choose from it's not hard to believe.
"Sugary drinks are a lot more available to kids than they ever were before and they're also heavily marketed toward children," she said.
So Benedict is launching the ReThink Your Drink campaign to encourage parents to limit high-sugar beverages at home.
"Our message isn't that a sugary drink can't fit into a healthy diet, it's just it should be consumed less frequently," Benedict said.
She said one to two small drinks per week should be the limit.
"Keep the portion sizes reasonable: six to eight ounces," she said.
When you hit the vending machine for a 20 ounce soda, Benedict said you're getting about 67 grams of sugar and almost 250 calories.
"Those calories come along with few or no nutrients," she said.
Benedict said that is just as serious of a problem as the risk of obesity.
"They're going through a period of growth and development, so their nutrition is super important," she said.
Benedict said the best healthy choices are milk and water or 100 percent fruit juice in small amounts.
She said by making these changes parents can have a long-lasting impact on their kids' lives.
"This is just a real important time to shape their food habits so, in the future, they'll be more apt to make a healthy choice," Benedict said.
If you want more information on healthy choices for your kids, you can click here
to visit the ReThink Your Drink website.