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3/3/15blog post

what I think about what kids drink

My child: “Mom, I’m thirsty!” Me: “Get yourself some water.”

I am sure you have this conversation as well in your home. Growing up, I remember water was the only possible beverage to drink between meals (and later, we had sugar free iced tea!). These days, there are many other beverages that your children may want. Do you really know what your children are drinking?

Added sugar can be lurking in beverages we all drink. In May 2014, Dayton Children’s eliminated sugar sweetened beverages as just one of the actions of Dayton Children’s Healthy Way Initiative.

Why care about the beverages our children drink?

  • Sugar-sweetened beverages are the single largest contributor of calories and added sugar in the American diet.
  • A child who consumes one can of regular soda needs to walk 45 minutes just to burn it off.
  • In Ohio, one in three children born is overweight by age 8. We see the devastating effects of childhood obesity every day. These children are at higher risk for diabetes, asthma, poor mental health and chronic medication use.

When does a sugar sweetened beverage have merit? Comfort foods may assist a child to eat better and hence, heal faster. This may include a sugar sweetened beverage. Even though Dayton Children’s eliminated sugar sweetened beverages, slushies continue to exist on some medical care areas. These slushies are not intended to be “free for all”, but are treated as a calorie booster for an ill child and possibly may help the child “feel” better, so, they DO heal faster and go home sooner. Read More Bang for your Buck about boosting your child’s intakes when they are ill.

What is my take on sugar sweetened beverages? No, we don’t encourage these in our outside of our home. Yes, our children have had such beverages (unfortunately) at parties though we wish water or sugar free drink options were considered. There may be a time when you will find yourself reaching for them – I.E. illness. As parents, we need to teach balance and moderation so our children know how to function in a world filled, let’s say, with sugar sweetened beverages. With that, we still encourage water and low fat milk in our house. What beverages do you offer to your children?