'ReThink Your Drink' program encourages parents to limit kids' sugar

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Reported by: Ashley Cullins
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Updated: 1/16 7:23 pm
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.
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maureenbeach - 1/21/2014 5:19 AM
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Leading energy drink makers have voluntarily pledged not to sell or market these products in K-12 schools. In addition, these companies voluntarily display an advisory statement on energy drink packaging, stating that the product is not intended (or recommended) for children, pregnant or nursing women, and persons sensitive to caffeine. http://www.letsclearitup.org/fact/322/#.UkG82YmErCo.twitter

tara9shapiro - 1/17/2014 4:22 PM
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tara9shapiro - 1/17/2014 4:22 PM
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tara9shapiro - 1/17/2014 4:22 PM
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Speed - 1/17/2014 2:30 PM
0 Votes
I'm probably just being selfish,but as a Brittle Diabetic,there have been several times when being able to get a sugared soda from a nearby vending machine saved me from an Ambulance ride to the Hospital for treatment of severe hypoglycemia. That said,educating America's youth on the risks of TOO MUCH sugar in their diet is very important. Once the kids can realize the damage done by a high glucose diet over time,if they're raised well they'll naturally choose better options. It's unlikely you'll STOP kids from drinking Coke,etc.,but if they'll drink more healthy refreshments more of the time,it won't take long for them to get in the habit of looking at sugar content on the labels before deciding what to drink. Tax; More accurately,SOME iced teas have more sugar than most sodas,but most are similar in their sugar content. The $$$Coffee drinks,in my opinion,have no redeeming qualities except the "status" of drinking a $5.00 cup of coffee. BTW-my refreshment of choice is just plain coffee. It has a side effect of helping keep my lungs working better,so I save a little money on albuterol. B'sides-it's cheap.

taxpaying mom - 1/17/2014 10:38 AM
0 Votes
Ice tea has more sugar and calories than a soda but they are still pushing that one. Me I'll keep my sodas thank you very much! I'm sure its not any worse for me than those fancy expensive sugar filled coffee's.

khanretty - 1/17/2014 8:01 AM
0 Votes
Teaching children healthy eating habits from an early age is important so that when they hit their teens, they at least have the information to make better choices. But let's also recognize that beverage companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr Pepper voluntarily removed sodas from school a number of years ago. Only milk, 100% juice and water are sold in elementary schools. Beverage calories in schools have declined 90% since 2005. And beverage companies don't market to audiences predominately under the age of 12. All of this was done without government taxes, regulations or bans.
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