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July 15, 2009 > Rethink your drink

Rethink your drink

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of First 5 Santa Clara County

Don't let soda impede your child's healthy growth. Insatiable craving for soda and sweetened drinks leads to obesity and poor dental health. First 5 Santa Clara County is sponsoring Soda Free Summer campaign.

First 5 Santa Clara County is partnering for the second year with the Bay Area Nutrition and Physical Activity Collaborative (BANPAC) on the 2009 Soda Free Summer 10-week campaign.

First 5 San Francisco and San Francisco's First Lady, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, recently launched the Soda Free Summer campaign by urging children and parents to give up soda this summer. Studies suggest that when a 30-pound child drinks one 12 oz. can of caffeinated soda, it is the same amount of caffeine that a 150-pound adult gets after drinking four cups of coffee.

There are varied ways to make tasty drinks for children that are healthy too. Add lemon, lime and mint, cucumbers, berries or orange and melon slices to a pitcher of water, instead of taking sugar-saturated beverages like sodas, fruit punches and sports drinks.

One-hundred percent fruit juice is also not recommended as it contains fructose, a kind of sugar which contributes to tooth decay in young children. Children are not advised to drink more than six ounces of fruit juice a day. They should be served water and milk instead.

The campaign kicked off locally on June 16 at a training held by First 5 Santa Clara County that educated community members and social service providers on how much sugar is actually contained in drinks and foods that are marketed to young children.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager also presented First 5 Santa Clara County, Kaiser Permanente and Santa Clara County Department of Public Health with a 2009 Soda Free Summer proclamation at Festival in the Park on June 20 at Hellyer Park in San Jose.

To support their participation in the campaign, individuals can fill out a pledge card to track the number of days they or their family are soda free and fill out a form which they can mail in to be entered into a raffle to win a grocery shopping spree or a bicycle.

The Soda Free Summer campaign is also distributing free copies of the children's book "'Drink Water!' Said the Otter" and an accompanying instructional toolkit to preschools and child care centers, as well as parents and caregivers of children ages five and under.

The Free Early Childhood Toolkit includes: One Drink Water Said the Otter rhyming book to read aloud to children, activity sheets that children can complete after the book has been read, to reinforce key messages, ten "Did you know?" flyers with different Soda Free Summer "fun facts" for parents and children, Drink Water Said the Otter stickers, Soda Free Summer Pledge Cards for families to fill out that encourage them to formalize their Soda Free Summer commitment; and a Rethink Your Child's Drink Tip Sheet.

For more information visit First 5 Santa Clara County's website at www.first5kids.org.

Join First 5 this Saturday for a healthy reading of the book "Drink Water said the Otter" and craft activity. First 5 Santa Clara County is partnering with Barnes and Noble, Stevens Creek to host a Super Healthies Story Time on Saturday, July 18 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at 3600 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose.

Families can participate in the story time, followed by child-friendly craft, and each family that participates will receive a free "Drink Water Said the Otter" storybook.

For more information about the program contact Community Programs Coordinator, Jo Seavey-Hultquist at (408) 260-3720.

Super Healthies Story Time
Saturday, July 18
10 a.m - 11:30 a.m.
Barnes and Noble Stevens Creek
3600 Stevens Creek Blvd, San Jose
(408) 260-3720

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