New Year’s Resolution: Drink more water
Soon after the ball drops (or the bologna as we know New Years in Lebanon County), the next thing we usually do is proclaim our New Year’s Resolution. Swearing off that last holiday cookie and promising to shed those extra five pounds put on over the holidays, we welcome in a new year. This predictable tradition is the time when we get back on track to healthier eating and exercise. However, as we realign ourselves, what about our children? Will they also commit to the same New Year’s resolution?
While sugar consumption in children has increased, the holidays can’t be credited for this. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics, 16% of children’s daily calories come from added sugar-this goes well beyond an overindulgence of holiday cookies and candy. In fact, since the mid 1970’s the average intake of sugar among children has been slowly rising and the primary culprit—sugary beverages (colas, soft drinks and high sugar juices). Furthermore, as the consumption of sugary beverages has risen the amount of milk and water children consume has decreased—therefore denying much needed nutrients for bone density and growth.
That is why that throughout the past year the staff at Lebanon Family Health has been out teaching about the 5210 concept. It’s a simple daily diet concept for parents that recommend children get 5 fruits/vegetables a day, less than 2 hours of recreational screen time, get 1 hour of physical activity and 0 sugary beverages each day.
While encouraging a 5 year old to drink water instead of the red drink at the holiday party is a challenge, the staff at LFHS have been teaching children to drink water in a fun and entertaining way. “Potter the Otter”, a helpful friend that likes to drink water is introduced to kids. He teaches children and their parents about the sugar content in popular drinks such as soda, juices and chocolate milk. Lessons on sugar content are also available for parents. For more information on the “Potter the Otter” and other nutrition education lessons available at Lebanon Family Health, visit our website at www.lebanonfamilyhealth.org.